13 August 2008

Highland Wolf by Hannah Howell

Annora MacKay senses a disturbing evil in Dunncraig Keep, the estate acquired by her cousin, a cruel and ruthless man. Only her affection for the tiny girl he claims is his daughter stops her from fleeing. Then a mysterious woodcarver arrives at the castle, and she cannot stop thinking, or longing, for him.

James Drummond, once a laird now an outcast, wants what was stolen from him – his good name, his lands and his child. His disguise for getting into Dunncraig is step one of his plan, but the enticing raven-haired woman who cares for his daughter is an unwelcome surprise. For he has come seeking justice, no love…


I love a good Highland Romance and Hannah Howell is one of my favourite authors of the genre, but this book left a lot to be desired.

The concept is good - a powerful laird driven from his keep and forced to live in exile returning to reclaim what was stolen from him and our heroine is an underappreciated, poor relation (read: bastard) that nobody cares about. She travels from relative to relative depending on their generosity to keep her alive. James and Annora find each other and strive to right the wrongs that her family has done to him and in the process, heal their wounds. As I said, the concept is good but that is pretty much the only thing that is.

What I didn’t understand and didn’t like was the fact that James Drummond is the foster child of an EXTREMELY powerful Highland clan – The Murray’s - and yet he doesn't seek their help at all. While I understand that he wouldn’t want to cause any undue hardship to his family, they have the power to help him, his child and his people. Yet he STILL doesn’t bother, choosing instead to hide in a cave for three years. At the end of the story however, he is willing to take his little family and move to France or seek out his clan for protection. Why not do this earlier? Why not just live in France for three years, plotting his revenge on the bad guy while his family worked on his pardon.

The disguise he uses to gain entry into the keep is laughable and how the evidence to his innocence is discovered is a joke. Or, maybe I was just fed up buy the time these things came to light.

I liked our hero but I wanted to like him more. He seemed much too timid and helpless to be a Scottish laird. Annora was likeable enough, a typical Howell heroine.

There were many occasions when I wanted to throw in the towel and stop reading altogether. However, if you must read it, I suggest borrowing it from your local library and saving the space on your bookshelf for another of Ms. Howell’s novels.

01 August 2008

Prince of Fire by Linda Winstead Jones

Despite the prophesies, Keelia, Queen of the Anwyn, would never let a wild Caradon, a man who can shape-shift into a mountain cat, touch her. But when one kidnaps her, mistaking her for the caster of a spell on his people. Keelia realizes she has never been more wrong: Her Caradon captor is the very same lover as in her torrid, recurring dream.

No man alive, Caradon or not, can resist a sensuous Anwyn queen. When Joryn, the Queen’s kidnapper realizes his mistake, the two must work together to undo the wicked spell. Neither can deny the crackling chemistry between them nor can the deny the ever-looming Prophecy of the Firstborn: She will betray love in the name of victory…


The second book in the Children of Sun series, Prince of Fire is the story of Keelia, the daughter of Juliet and Ryn & is the Red Queen that was prophesized about in The Moon Witch. This prophecy states that this Red Queen will take a Caradon lover and unite the Anwyn & Caradon. Joryn is a Caradon who, like Keelia, has special gifts and talents and has the ability to shapeshift. The Caradon is the sworn enemy of the Anwyn.

There is something evil infecting the Caradon and Joryn believes it to be the curse of the Anwyn queen. He therefore kidnaps her, holding her prisioner in order to stop the course. Keelia, is of course innocent and knowing the prophecy, convinces Joryn that they must fight this evil together. They form an uneasy truce and together set out to confront and stop the Isen Demon.

Prince of Fire is a solid addition to this series. The plot and the characters are combined perfectly to make this story flow smoothly from one page to the next. The passion & chemistry between Keelia and Joryn is so well written it made me laugh, cry, and root for them when you weren't sure if they would make it. Old plots are revisited, new ones introduced and seeing the familiar characters returning from previous novels in the series make Prince of Fire a book not to be missed.

25 July 2008


I am back from my vacation and what a lovely time we had. The wedding was fantastic and the bride and groom looked wonderful! Nana and Papa are healthy and strong and they certainly enjoyed time with their great-grandson.

I didn't get much reading done while on holiday as between the wedding and my two year old, time was scarce. I have some reviews in progress though and will post soon.

Happy reading everyone!

24 June 2008


I am slow on the reviews these days. Work is insane, the kid is sick and I'm exhausted. I start my vacation in two weeks and I hope to do some catch up at that time. And sleep. Must sleep.


Once again I am attempting to read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. Unlike the vast majority of romance fans, I am one of the very few that hasn't been sucked into this series. I've picked it up several times now, only to put it back on the shelf. I want to read it but I don't know why I can never get into it. Maybe the third time is the charm?

16 June 2008

Emperor's Bride Trilogy by Linda Winstead Jones

I was reading Romance Book Wyrm yesterday and to my delight discovered that Ms. Jones was coming out with the third installment to her Columbyana series. I've been hoping for more on this series and if this one is as good as the first two, we are in for a treat.

The first book, Untouchable is scheduled for release in August 2008 and the second, 22 Nights, in December. No word yet on the name or release date of the third.

I have reviewed the Sisters of the Sun trilogy as well as the first book in the Children of the Sun trilogy. You can find these reviews here.

08 May 2008

Highland Barbarian by Hannah Howell

Sir Artan Murray was right when he decided that the dying old man who bid him collect his niece didn’t know her at all. The furious woman facing him is neither “sweet” nor “biddable.” She demands the brawny Highlander return her to the wedding party from which he took her. But Artan has no intention of allowing a so spirited and bewitching creature to endure a loveless marriage to a ruthless lord for her clan’s sake. He aims to woo the lass and to show her that true love also yields unforgettable pleasure…

Cecily Donaldson knows a bond forged by danger and desperation cannot endure. But Artan’s touch leaves her breathless, and she knows this to be her one chance to experience true passion before an arranged marriage seals her fate. Yet once begun, passion cannot be denied … nor can a love with the promise to change everything…

My Thoughts

Angus MacReith needs an heir so he turns to Sir Artan Murray, a distant relative who once fostered at Glascreag. He instructs Artan to go to the Lowlands and fetch his orphaned niece Cecily, promising that if Artan marries her, he will inherit Glascreag.

While not keen on marriage to a stranger, and a lowlander at that, Artan honours this ‘dying’ man’s wish and journeys to the lowlands, only to find himself landing in the middle of Cecily’s wedding celebrations. Cecily’s relatives do not welcome his arrival and soon, attempts on Artan’s life are made.

Artan is pleasantly surprised by her appearance, admires her feistiness and is angered by how she is treated by her family. Like other members of his clan, it doesn’t take him long to realize that she is his soul mate. He also quickly realizes that all is not as it should be and in order to protect her, kidnaps her and returns to Glascreag. On their journey he informs her of everything he has learned and begins to woo her in order to make her his .

The book ends about a hundred pages too soon. At this point her guardians are exposed for the murderers they are, Sir Fergus, her former betrothed, is dealt with, and their love is declared. This is where it went weird. Artan is injured and Cecily completely changes her behaviour and makes a promise to God that she will become the perfect wife if He allows Artan to live. Sadly, her definition of a perfect wife is a result of the lessons taught to her by her former guardian. It just doesn’t make sense, especially when we consider the kind of woman her guardian was. On top of this she knows that Artan loves her for who she is so why want to change? Even the characters in the book were annoyed with her!

Overall a decent book but the ending leaves much to be desired.

24 April 2008

Foxfire Bride by Maggie Osborne

Fox is a woman as feisty as they come. Once the most sought-after scout west of the Rockies, she led folks through wild, unexplored terrain–until a gunshot wound ended her guiding career. She’s living a calmer life when a handsome stranger appears with an urgent request to take him to Denver immediately. The gold coins he offers catch Fox’s eye–and so do his sharp good looks. Fox can’t resist the chance to guide again, and can’t ignore the fire that burns in her body whenever she sees this oh-so tempting man.

Matthew Tanner has received a startling telegraph: His father is being held for ransom in Denver. With time running out, Matthew must find the best scout money can buy. When the best turns out to be a woman with gritty good looks and a wild mane of red hair, Matthew is both shocked and intrigued. Can Matthew and Fox’s mutual desire and growing love survive the perils of their journey, or will their secrets destroy each other?

My Thoughts

This is my first novel by Maggie Osborne and I was very impressed with this well written and captivating story. Our heroine Fox isn’t a whiny, helpless woman that is typical in many historical romance novels, but an outrageous, foul-mouthed, feisty redhead with tons of attitude. She is a trail guide who is hired by our hero, Matthew Tanner to guide his party of three from Nevada to Denver, Colorado.

Matthew is on his way home to deliver a ransom to free his father from ruthless kidnappers and Fox is going to Denver to get her revenge and murder the man she believes ruined her life. Although Fox and Matthew are from two different worlds, romance blossoms and he begins to admire Fox for the woman she is. They begin their love affair knowing there is no future due to their very different lives, and because Fox knows that she will probably hang for murder. This she keeps to herself, not letting anyone other than Peaches know her real motive for the trip.

Vibrant secondary characters & sub-plots make this story a good one. My favourite character in the book is Peaches, an ex-slave who ran away with Fox and raised her. Their relationship is touching and moving and will warm your soul. While predictable in some areas, it is still a well-paced read that will not disappoint. I will definitely be picking up more of Maggie Osborne’s work.

18 April 2008

Scottish Lairds

Lately, I've been obsessed with reading Scottish Historicals - Hannah Howell in particular. There are several other authors that I'm interested in but overall, I'm having a tough time finding books that I like. If anyone has any recommendations for a good historical romance set in the Scottish Highlands, please let me know!

12 April 2008

Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts

Determined to reevaluate her life, Jude Murray flees her complicated life in Chicago to take refuge in a beautiful cottage in the picturesque village of Ardmore in Ireland. Surrounded by the beautiful scenery and refreshed by the more relaxed lifestyle, Jude finds herself fascinated by the local folklore. Even her cottage seems to have a resident ghost and Jude decides to embark on a personal research project to find out more.

Finally back home in Ireland after years of travelling, Aidan Gallagher is also something of an expert when it comes to his country's haunting myths. He's returned to devote himself to managing the family business. But in Jude Murray he sees a woman who can soothe his heart and stir his blood. And he begins to share the legends of the land with her -- while they create a passionate history of their own... - Synopsis from the back cover of the novel.

My Thoughts

I picked this book up at the airport thinking it would be a good light read for my long flight south. What I got was an exceptional story of love; exploration and self-discovery that made me laugh, nod my head in agreement and cry. Jewels of the Sun has touched me like no other romance novel has, and to this day, nothing I have read can even compare. It is not just another romance novel, but a story of learning to live your life to it’s fullest, to take chances and follow your dreams. After having just been through a recent relationship break-up (and a bad one at that), this could not have come at a better time.

Our heroine is Jude, a onetime university professor who has quit her job, sub-let her condo and moved to Ireland to ‘find herself’. After having her marriage break up in less than a year, she is confused, angry, sad and a little bit neurotic. Jude settles in Fairie Cottage and begins work on her academic paper but this soon turns to her writing of Ireland’s legends and stories, and following her life long dream.

Our hero, Aiden, is a resident of Ardmore who, after years of travelling the world, has come home to take over the family business – the local pub. Intelligent, sexy, compassionate & strong, he is everything a woman could want. He sets his sights on Jude and pursues her, eventually convincing her that she is a warm, smart, beautiful woman with much to offer the world.

Their love story is wonderful, the characters rich and very real. From the tomboy Brenna to the the vain and adorable Darcy to Sean the very talented and angry artist they pull us in, making us wish that we could be lucky enough to find friends like them. Added to this is a secondary plot with a touch of supernatural. It is the story of Prince Carrick and Lady Gwen. Separated by a three hundred year old curse, they wait for the spell to be broken so that they can finally be together.

Maybe it’s my fascination with everything Irish, I don’t know. But every time I read something of Ms. Robert’s that is set in Ireland, I am never disappointed. Her writing style is always engaging, the scenery vivid and beautiful. In this book you can feel the essence of Ireland through the people, the ambiance and the music. In all, this is a fantastic book, one that I could not put down and have read again and again. It’s a ‘feel-good’ story, teaching us that love is something that should never be given up on, no matter how bumpy the road may be.