Tag Archives: historical romance

BEWITCHING A HIGHLANDER

Book Review: Bewitching a Highlander, by Roma Cordon

I accepted a review copy of Roma Cordon‘s Bewitching a Highlander through Rockstar Book Tours. The book has also been featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for further information, including an excerpt, author bio, the tour schedule, and a chance to win a copy of the book.

 

Defying all for the love of a bewitching lass.

Breena MacRae, a healer from Skye with a touch of witchery in her blood, embarks on a dangerous search for her missing father. She arrives on the Isle of Coll, seat of the vile Campbells. There, she encounters the debonair future chief to the Dunbar Clan, Egan, who rescues her from a Campbell sentry.

Egan Dunbar is on Coll to keep the peace between the feuding Campbells and Dunbars. But when he catches Breena in a lie, he agrees to help her find her father to pay back an old debt and get to the bottom of the secrets she’s hiding.

As their attraction for each ignites like a firestorm, Breena and Egan realize a future together could trigger deadly consequences—a clan war between the Campbells and the Dunbars. Is Egan willing to betray his clan for love, even though he knows Breena is keeping secrets from him? Can Breena trust him with her family secret and put those she loves at risk?

my review

This is one of those books that is really hard to review. Because, objectively, it’s fine. The writing is readable. (I read an ARC, so can’t comment on editing.) The characters seem likeable. The world holds together, etc. For the right reader this is a guaranteed 5-star read.

But, honestly, it was just a passable read for me, for reasons that are almost completely subjective. First, I picked this up for the witchery. Fantasy romance is one of my favorite genres. But the magic part of this book—the fantasy aspect—is very light. VERY LIGHT, practically non-existent. Which makes this much more a historical romance, than a historic fantasy romance. Which is fine, obviously, just not what I was looking for.

Second, I’m just not a huge fan of narration that is full of hyperbole, especially when it’s how characters characterize the romance. By which I mean when characters spend the whole book thinking super exaggerated thoughts about the other. Each is ‘the most’ this, or ‘the only’ that, or ‘the first/last’ whatever. I think it lacks nuance and subtlety. But I know some readers love it.

Plus, I think that if you took out all the repetition and that hyperbole, you’d be forced to acknowledge that very little actually happened in the book. And the one big life threatening thing that did happen, was completely random and not particularly well stitched into the rest of the plot. Similarly, the plot twist was super obvious. I predicted it before the 100 page mark.

Lastly, as far as I can tell, this is the author’s first book. (I can’t find any others, anyhow). But I spent this whole time I read Bewitching a Highlander thinking I’d missed a first book in the series. These two characters are meant to have met before, in events that are referenced. I thought they must have been side characters in another couple’s story. (That’s 100% how it read). But then I discovered there isn’t another book and was confused.

All in all, I know this sounds like a negative review. But it just wasn’t the book for me. For those who like this particular sort of book—mildly spicy, Scottish historical romance— this will be a winner. I’m certain of it. For me, it wasn’t what I was hoping for. But I’d read another Cordan book

bewitching a highlander photo


Other Reviews:

Bewitching A Highlander Blog Tour

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Book Review: A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby – by Vanessa Riley

I picked up a second-hand copy of Vanessa Riley‘s A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby at Savers not too long ago.

a duke, the lady, and a baby
When headstrong West Indian heiress Patience Jordan questioned her English husband’s mysterious suicide, she lost everything: her newborn son, Lionel, her fortune—and her freedom. Falsely imprisoned, she risks her life to be near her child—until The Widow’s Grace gets her hired as her own son’s nanny. But working for his unsuspecting new guardian, Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington, has perils of its own. Especially when Patience discovers his military strictness belies an ex-rake of unswerving honor—and unexpected passion . . .

A wounded military hero, Busick is determined to resolve his dead cousin’s dangerous financial dealings for Lionel’s sake. But his investigation is a minor skirmish compared to dealing with the forthright, courageous, and alluring Patience. Somehow, she’s breaking his rules, and sweeping past his defenses. Soon, between formidable enemies and obstacles, they form a fragile trust—but will it be enough to save the future they long to dare together?

 my review
I enjoyed quite a lot about this story. Both Patience and Busick were likeable characters. I especially appreciated how forthright and communicative Busick was and how ready to stand for herself Patience was. Not to mention that as a West Indian and an amputee, both are unlikely characters…or at least, too seldom seen represented in historical romance characters.

I also liked that there were complexities to Patience’s previous husband. He undoubtedly did bad things, some of which emotionally hurt her horribly. But he also legitimately loved her and some of the things that hurt her so, were his ham-handed, wrong-headed attempt to protect her.

I did think there was some inconsistency in Patience characters. One minute she’s willing to do absolutely anything to stay with Lionel, the next she’s unwilling to take even the smallest order for the same thing. I mean, Busick liked it. So, it worked out in the end. But it wasn’t represented as being done to catch his attention, or with a purpose. So, it just felt like an inconsistency. The dialogue was also stilted at times. But I otherwise liked the writing.

If you’re looking for a steamy romantic read, this isn’t it. It’s not even overly romantic, in the sweep you off your feet sense. . It’s sweet and the love is meant to be real. But it’s more subtle, more a romance of convenience than anything else.

All in all,  I enjoyed more than I didn’t and am interested in following the series.

a duke, the lady, and a baby photo


Other Reviews:

Book Review: A Duke, the Lady and a Baby

Book Review: A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby by Vanessa Riley

 

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Book Review: Highland Stranger, by Kerrigan Byrne

I picked up a copy of Kerrigan Byrne‘s Highland Stranger as an Amazon freebie in an attempt to add a little variety to my Christmas Reading Challenge. (It’s been very contemporary romance heavy.)
highland stranger cover
His heart was made of ice…

Born a nameless bastard into the Berserker horde, Finn is the measure of strength, ferocity, and brutality at the Temple of Freya. Sent to the Highlands bent on revenge and murder, he stumbles on an infant deserted in the snow. What he chooses next may seal his fate.
Her life was cold and empty…

Rhona McEwan has lost everything. Her husband, her child, and soon she fears she must relinquish her dignity in order to survive the bitter Highland winter. When the most fearsome, mysterious, and breathtaking man seeks the help she can give to the child in his arms, she’s unable to turn them away. Even though she’s not certain he’s entirely human.
Three of the world’s Unwanted…

On a snowy Solstice night during the magical Yuletide season, their need for each other may alter their destinies forever. In the third installment of the best-selling Highland Historical Series, Kerrigan Byrne weaves a tale of blood and vengeance, of love, redemption, and the bonds that make a family.

my review
This is the first of this series that I’ve read and I was able to follow it admirably well. I was a tad confused on what, exactly, a berserker was (it’s quite a ways into the book before it’s explained). But that was the only issue with having not read the first two books.

I have a soft spot for supernatural men who are just a tad broken and cling desperately to their love (be it a mate, a wife, an amour, whatever). And Finn is just that. I liked him quite a lot as a hero. I appreciated Rhona too. She’s been through the wringer and come out stronger for it. But I’m not a huge fan of female characters written as if they’ve somehow never discovered their own bodies. Similarly, I cringe when “her womanhood,” “his manhood,” etc is repeatedly used as descriptions in sex. It seems super limiting.

Regardless, for a 150(ish) page novella it was a satisfying enough read.

highland stranger photo


Other Reviews:

A Date With a Book: Unwanted (aka Highland Stranger)