Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Historical-Romance
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-03-24 10:30
Kiss of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
Kiss of the Highlander (Highlander, #4) - Karen Marie Moning

Gwen Cassidy, virgin extraordinaire, wants to be a virgin no more. That's why she's in Scotland on vacation—she's looking for her cherry popper. Unfortunately, she ends up on a seniors bus tour of Scotland and right when she's quit smoking.

To get away from her travel companions, she goes on a short trek in the hills above Loch Ness only to end up chasing her backpack into a ravine, and ending up in a cave, on top of a male body. A warm, hunky male body. A warm, hunky, hard male body. And he doesn't seem to mind.

Pity, the kilt-clad Highlander isn't entirely sane, trying to convince her he's from the sixteenth century and literally kidnapping her to help him get back to his home.

Unfortunately, this is the second worst book in this series for me (after Beyond the Highland Mist). It's not that it's badly written, slow of pace or that the story is weak. It's the "conflict" and its span that bothers me.
For the first hundred or so pages, she's the stubborn one, refusing to believe him, thinking he's crazy...Then she falls for him (after mere three days of acquaintance), gives him her virginity (because we have to keep the reader engaged; sex is the best way)...And for the next hundred pages or so, the roles are completely reversed, with him being stubborn, refusing to believe her and thinking her crazy, while she takes on the role of "sexual pursuer", determined to seduce him (like he did in the beginning), while he secretly lusts for her (as she did in the beginning).

It went on for too long, this back and forth, not really adding depth or "crunch" to the story. Instead of spending that (unnecessary) time by giving depth and layers to the characters, providing much needed information to the reader as to why these two were in love (personality and personality traits, character etc.), these two hundred plus pages are spent with one of the other trying to change the other's mind, while drooling over the other's body. And in the end, poof, they're just in love.
Why? Because they're just too stubborn to give up? Because they're hot enough for the other to notice? Because they're open-minded enough to accept even the least possible explanations? I don't get it, and it bothers me.

The second thing that really bothered me, was the initial "incarnation" of the heroine. At the beginning, this supposed genius, came across as an air-headed, desperate virgin with only sex on her mind. She was twenty-five, not fifty-five, yet so desperate she was willing to toss her cherry at a complete stranger just to get rid of it.
The third problem was the hero. Sure, he was chivalrous, sexy, smart, tender, etc....Every character trait a hero in a romance novel should have was there, with that added dash of blind hard-headedness toward the end, but he still somehow came across as bland. He was a template, a form filled to perfection, but that was it.

Then there were their antics in the second half of the story, where she tried to pin him down to tell him the story, and he kept eluding her, going so far as jumping out the window, until she finally managed to trap him.
These attempts might've started off as slightly humorous, but quickly turned pathetic and too desperate for comfort.

This book also had its redeeming qualities (luckily). The "magic" elements, the wonderful supporting cast (with Silvan, Nell, and, of course, Dageus, the Dark Highlander, topping the list), and the enchanting setting of Alba. And yes, those pages where all was good between Gwen and Drustan, where they were on the same wavelength, woke up the romantic in me, and I was willing to suspend my disbelief for those moments (we all need those "aww, how cute is that" moments in our lives and our fiction).

Yeah, even on this second read, I had difficulties with this book. It's a wonderful romance story in all, but it could've been so much more.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-03-23 09:55
The Highlander's Touch by Karen Marie Moning
The Highlander's Touch - Karen Marie Moning

In 1308 Circenn Brodie, the immortal laird of Brodie, swears an oath to kill whomever comes along with a hallowed Fae flask that's been recently stolen and put a binging spell on.

In present day Cincinnati, Lisa Stone is working two jobs to pay the medical bills for her deathly ill mother. One of those jobs include night cleaning at the museum...Then one morning, curiosity makes her touch a shimmering flask in a recently unearthed chest brought to the US from the Scottish Highlands...and she finds herself flung 700 years back, to 1314 and castle Dunnottar, smack in the middle of Circenn Brodie's chambers.

Yet the man who swore the oath to kill her, the man who lived his life with honor, cannot bring himself to do what he'd sworn to do. And the woman who, in the past five years, had seldom experienced tenderness, care and comfort finds herself falling for the towering warrior.

But there are obligations waiting for her back in the future, and even though Circenn claims he cannot return her, Lisa is adamant in finding a way out of her predicament and back to her mother's side...Even if it means breaking two hearts in the process.

This was the first Karen Marie Moning book I ever bought, it introduced me to the author and to this series. And yes, it's probably my favorite of them all. You know, you never forget your first one.

But what's not to like about this story, really?
It's set in Scottish Highlands (my favorite setting of them all; I've actually visited both castles mentioned in this story—Dunnottar and Brodie!), it features, albeit briefly, the battle at Bannock Burn (providing one of the best quotes in this book*), it's filled with wonderful supporting cast (the Douglas Brothers, the surprise appearance of Robert the Bruce in all his matchmaking glory...), and has one hell of a leading man.

Circenn Brodie, the ninth-century warrior living in the fourteenth-century war-torn Scotland, falling in love with a twenty-first century woman. And the man was barely ruffled, except when it came to the woman, of course, as it should be.
Granted, I'm not really sure why he fell in love with her, she (at least not that I could see) had any special characteristics, except for being "alien" and having a mind of her own. Yes, she's suffered, she had issues, but that was pretty much it. Not much was spent on her character at least not in the way for Circenn to fall for her the way he did.
While many pages were spent on Circenn and all his good qualities (did he even have any bad ones), making him known to the reader so that she/he would understand, empathize and sympathize with Lisa's plight as she stumbled over the proverbial cliff.

And then there was Adam Black whose real identity, as it was revealed, comes as a huge surprise for those who read this book for the first time. I'm glad he's starting to redeem himself after the "mischief" he concocted in the first book (where he was quite a villain) and we're slowly working toward his own story.

This book was a fast-paced, intriguing mix of historical romance and time-travel with a gripping, yet minor, suspense and treason sub-plot, the romance was lovely and heartfelt, the narration was wonderfully evocative, painting vivid pictures of the characters and their surroundings...All nicely intertwined with magical elements and the beauty of Scotland.


Along the Bannock Burn, Circenn Brodie was an animal, merciless and swift. Later the men would claim he vied with the Berserkers in his deadly rage, and epics would be composed in his honor. He was cold and sharp and hard, and good for nothing but slaughter. He lost himself in a blackness so complete that he cared naught if he slew legions, he simply raged, hoping to exhaust himself and gain the respite of unconsciousness, a temporary kind of death.
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-03-22 01:48
It Takes Two to Tumble by Cat Sebastian - My Thoughts
It Takes Two to Tumble: Seducing the Sedgwicks - Cat Sebastian

This first of a projected series was recommended all over my Twitter feed as being a fun, sexy read.  And the recs weren't wrong.  :) 

The two main characters were a little different from the norm.  A ship's captain and a vicar.  I liked their characters.  Phillip, the widowed naval captain with the three unruly children is a grumpy, clueless, stern and standoffish fellow who we soon learn actually does have a heart under that disciplined exterior.

Benedict, or Ben, the vicar, is a sweetheart.  Takes care of everyone.  Good humoured and understanding and endowed with a huge heart, he's the perfect foil for Phillip. 

I honestly can't say that any new ground in historical, gay romances was broken here, but it's certainly a fun and entertaining read.  The love story is sweet and believable, the sexytimes are hot, and the children aren't little paragons of cleverness or virtue or old beyond their years. 

I enjoyed it quite a bit!  And I'm looking forward to the next in the series. 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-03-21 16:03
To Tame a Highland Warrior by Karen Marie Moning
To Tame a Highland Warrior - Karen Marie Moning

At fourteen he found his father crouched over his mother's battered, bloody body...That same night, his home and his clan were attacked by an enemy clan and Gavrael Roderick Icarus McIllioch sold his soul to Odin in exchange for the strength he needed to save his home, becoming a legend, a Berserker.

Not wanting to have anything more to do with his name, especially the madness his father professed coursed through the veins of their clan—the madness that surely made his father kill his wife—Gavrael became Grimm Roderick, spending the next fifteen years in the employ of the king, trying desperately to forget his legacy...And the beast inside him.

Then a missive comes from an old friend, calling upon the vow Grimm had made when he was sixteen. To protect the girl who found him, covered in mud, hiding in the woods. "Come for Jillian", the missive says and nothing could stop Grimm from racing to the side of the girl who's turned into the only woman he's ever loved. The only woman he could never have...imm from racing to the side of the girl who's turned into the only woman he's ever loved. The only woman he could never have...

This is one of my favorite books in this Highlander. It has it all, a legendary warrior, secrets in the past, determined enemies, and a pair of star-crossed lovers caught in the midst of inner and outer turmoil as they navigate their epic romance.

This book stars Grimm Roderick, Hawk's best friend and captain of the guards and the wish upon a fallen star Adrienne made at the end of the previous book. Because that wish came true. ;)
I loved Grim to bits. What's there not to love about an obtuse man so utterly and completely in love with a woman that it's made him stupid. So stupid in fact, he tries to push her away for almost half the book and almost accomplishes his goal in the second half. Yes, he was an idiot, a jerk and as ass, but at least he had a reasonably good excuse for his behavior (a wrong one, but he didn't know that until almost the end).
So he hurt the woman he loved, and, bless her heart, she endured. Lucky for all of us, Jillian was too stubborn for her own good and once she realized the truth about how the man truly felt for her, she dug in, and refused to be defeated.

I just loved these two together, how they changed from the aloof, poised individuals they were separately, into bratty, sometimes childish, and rather stupid couple that was the epitome of the saying "if he teases you, he likes you". There was a lot of metaphorical hair pulling involved, but once they crossed the proverbial line in the sand, their feelings, their connection was almost palpable.

But because this is a romance and the story isn't short, there were quite a few hurdles to overcome before the requisite HEA, but instead of the story feeling stretched out and overblown (like Beyond the Highland Mist for example), the reader (at least this reader) was so "involved", having come to know the characters, what drove them, what drove the conflict, and having seen what could be, that the pages simply flew as fingers were being crossed that all would end well.

The overall conflict between the McIllioch and McKane clan was also very well done, and rather "realistic" in terms of combating force (compared to the mystical elements involved in the previous book). This conflict wasn't between a human and Fae, but between two Scottish clans, echoing the savagery of the time and the locale in which the story is set.
Though we never got to see a real battle, the "danger" was there.

But what I liked most of all, beside the romance and the main couple, in this book, was the supporting cast, especially Quinn, Grimm and Jillian's friend and the voice of reason in their love story (wonder if he'll ever get a book), and Balder, who made an appearance quite late in the book, but had by far the best lines in the whole story.

Gone were the inconsistencies of the first book, this one was well-written, well-paced, offered a pretty good twist of a bad surprise in the end, and delivered one hell of a romance. I'm still starry-eyed. ;)

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-03-20 16:45
Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning
Beyond the Highland Mist - Karen Marie Moning

Thanks to a woman's pricked pride, two people from different points in time, find themselves embroiled in the battle of wills...And hearts.

Aoibheal, Queen of the Fae, decides to make her husband, the King, and her jester jealous by talking about the almost mystical prowess (both in the battlefield and the boudoir) of Sidheach James Lyon Douglas, third Earl of Dalkeith. Apparently his appendage and stamina are able to possess a woman's soul. And the Queen claims to have experienced in first hand. Which makes the King and the Fool rather peeved and intent on revenge.

Enter Adrienne de Simone, all the way from 1997, badly burned by a beautiful, deceitful man with a black soul, which makes her hate all beautiful men at large. So what is she to do, when she's thrust back into 1513 Scotland and wed, by proxy, mind you (!) to a devastatingly beautiful (both in and out) man?

This is the first book in Moning's romance Highlander series. I prefer her in the romance author guise myself, because I like my books to actually have a beginning and an end all in one book, but that's just me.

It's obvious, this is the first book, since it sports the many first-book problems. It looks like KMM was still looking for her voice, tempo, and narrative style with this one.

For starters, the conflict dragged on for too long (almost two thirds of the story) and in the end came across as more of a stubbornness issue on the heroine's part than anything else. There was nothing to the conflict really to start with. Sure, she was badly burned, but hating all beautiful men because of the action of one specimen is a bit over the top.

The second problem I have with this story is the fact, the romance doesn't really "register". It's there because it's written, the resolution comes across as plausible, believable and sweet, because of the length of the conflict, so in the end the reader wants the hero and heroine to be together just to end the idiocy of the conflict that's keeping them apart.
Unfortunately, the story is so focused on the conflict and heroine's trust issues that it never lingers overmuch on the characters, leaving the reader slightly bewildered to the fact why these two love each other so much in the end, when the reader barely knows them.

And the third problem is the antagonist, but that's just me, since I loved him in his own book that comes later in this series.

Still, the story is well-written, though slightly underdeveloped, overblown in places and rather plodding in others. It's set in Scotland (my favorite setting of them all no matter the time frame), it features a yummy Scottish, kilt-wearing laird that falls (inexplicably) head over heels for the first woman who resists him (novelty, I guess), and is filled to the brim with wonderful supporting cast.

It could be better. It should be better, but it could also be a lot, lot worse, so it gets three stars.

I like it and I won't mind re-reading it in the future.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?