Middle Ages / Medieval (476-1300)

Highland Redemption by Lori Ann Bailey

Highland RedemptionHighland Redemption by Lori Ann Bailey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Highland Pride #2
Publication Date: 11/27/17

This is the second novel by Lori Ann Bailey and I think she has great promise as an author. This series is set in 1640’s Scotland during a time of great turmoil between the Royalists and the Covenanters. I have not read the first book in the series and I think that may be what caused some of my questions about people in this book. There are some things that, to me, just aren’t plain and it makes me question their plausibility. I enjoyed the story, I just didn’t understand some of the character backgrounds and standing within the clan.

Skye MacDonald (or is it, Cameron, because her father was a Cameron farmer) is the niece of the MacDonald Laird. Skye was named for the Isle of Skye where her mother’s family lived. Skye’s mother was the daughter of the previous MacDonald Laird and the sister of the current one. Skye and Brodie were childhood friends and Brodie looked up to Skye’s father very much. The two spent most of their time together and friendship turned to love. Skye loved Brodie with all of her heart, but when Brodie began spending more and more time away, she began to wonder at his commitment to her. Then, when he disappeared during the worst time of her life, she was bereft and when her uncle came to take her back to Isle of Skye with him – she went.

Brodie Cameron is the cousin of the Cameron Laird. I’m not sure what his family ‘job’ as part of the Cameron clan is, but it sounds as if they are farmers. Brodie spent as much of his time as possible with Skye and her family. He loved Skye and felt as if her father was a second father to him. He wanted to marry Skye and make a life with her, but he didn’t feel worthy of her – especially after overhearing a conversation between Skye’s father and her uncle. So, when an opportunity to better himself arose, he took it. He became “The Raven” a spy for the Royalists. Sadly, that caused him to have to be away from home for long periods of time and didn’t allow him to explain those absences to Skye. When he returned from an important mission to find Skye’s father had died and Skye had left, he was inconsolable.

Five years later, Brodie rescues a young woman who is being abducted, only to discover that the woman is Skye. Both of them realize their love has never died and they also realize that neither of them is free to act on that. Argyle, a staunch Covenanter, has put a price on the head of The Raven and Brodie would never expose Skye to that and Skye’s uncle has betrothed her to the third son of another Laird in order to form a political alliance.

Brodie is taking Skye to safety when he discovers that Argyle has also placed a bounty on Skye’s head – dead or alive. He cannot understand why Argyle has placed the bounty, but he will do all in his power to keep her safe. How will they manage to get through that time and keep their hearts intact and not betray their clans and alliances?

This is a lovely story of love and redemption. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

A Knight’s Temptation by Lana Williams

A Knight's Temptation (Falling For A Knight Book 2)A Knight’s Temptation by Lana Williams

Series: Falling for a Knight, #2

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I was thrilled to learn that Ms. Williams was finally writing the follow up to A Knight’s Quest and could wait to delve right back into her medieval world of knights and ladies!

This story begins about two weeks after the end of A Knight’s Quest, Ilisa Douglas is the sister of Sophia (the heroine from A Knight’s Quest) and sister of the former governor of Berwick is in hiding with her younger brother Alec and Braden. She has a serious aversion to English knights and wants nothing more than to see Braden healed and on his way, so she can take her vows and retire to St. Mary’s. She feels honor bound to stay with Braden until he heals and her sister returns to take Alec with her to England.

Braden is the cousin of Garrick (the hero of A Knight’s Quest) and son of William and Christiana (Believe In Me – a fact that I remembered while I was reading this book!). Braden was injured while saving Ilisa and Sophia from an assassination attempt. Now that he is recovering, he wants to learn why Lord Graham is trying to kill the Douglas’ and who else might be involved. Little by little he regains his strength and tries to fight his attraction to Ilisa. Braden possesses the same gift of healing as his mother, a secret he guards closely, but a secret that may already be out, as he had used his gift in front of Alec. Using his gift drains him and in his weaken state could kill him, but Braden cannot let anyone suffer if he is able to help them. He is truly a good and honorable man.
When Ilisa and Braden learn that Lord Graham is having a tournament to celebrate his daughter’s birthday, Braden decides to go and see what he can learn. Ilisa and Alec also want to go and after meeting with the Prioress of St. Mary’s, Braden grudgingly agrees to let them accompany him. The Prioress helps them by giving them an invitation and new identities, but in turn she demands that they marry before they leave, assuring them that it will be easy to annul later. Doubtful, but needing to gain entry to the keep, they agree.

They travel to Lord Graham’s estate and along the way, Ilisa begins to realize her assumptions about Braden where wrong and that even though his is an English knight, he is a good man. The more she is with him, the more she begins to rethink her plans to take vows. She wonders if there could be a future with the man she is coming to admire.

When they reach the estate, they learn that Lord Graham is part of the Sentinels (the group of Scots looking to place their own man on the throne), but they still don’t know why he wants the Douglas siblings dead. They each play their role, trying to glean more information and the identities of Graham’s conspirators. When Ilisa befriends Arabela (Lord Graham’s daughter) they get too close to the truth and someone tries to kill Ilisa, Braden is forced to use his gift to save her. But too many people saw her injured and suspicion begins to take root.

When Chanse (Braden’s brother) shows up uninvited, Braden is overjoyed. Chanse enters the competition and tries to help Braden and Ilisa find out who Lord Graham is working with and to divert attention from Braden.

Braden knows he loves Ilisa, but is not sure about her feelings and with the danger they are in, he decides to wait until they are back in Berwick before he talks to her. But Ilisa has figured out Braden’s secret and is humbled that he risked his life to save her. She now knows that she loves him and would like to have a real marriage – but first they have to finish their mission. When they attend the final feast, Ilisa learns who tried to kill her. She tells Braden and they decide to leave the next morning. But when they are confronted by the villain and he uses Alec to force Braden to use his gift to save him and things go from bad to worse. Braden and Ilisa go to the keep to meet with Lord Graham and discover that Alec escaped. They leave to search for him and finally decide to leave and look for him on the road. When they find him and Braden heals him, he is drained and they are forced to stop so he can rest. But Lord Graham is not done with them yet and Braden is forced to make a choice to which there is no happy ending.

I loved this book, it was well written, flowed nicely, had plenty of action and intrigue and while it was not as steamy as I like, the love scenes were well done and appropriate for the story. Braden is a wonderful hero and is truly the shining star of this book.

This book is part of a series, but it could easily be read as a standalone title with no confusion to the reader. I was also excited to learn that Chanse’s story will be next and is scheduled to publish next spring!!

The Scot’s Bride by Paula Quinn

The Scot's Bride (The MacGregors: Highland Heirs Book #6)The Scot’s Bride by Paula Quinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Macgregors: Highland Heirs #6
Publication Date: 10/31/17

Endearing, well-developed and relatable characters populate this book. It is definitely a nice read. I did notice a couple of what I guess I’d call ‘plot holes’, but, if those had been done differently, I would have been reading a different book – and I liked this one.

Charlotte (Charlie) Cunningham is an enchanting, lovely young woman who has absolutely no use for men whatsoever. She has learned a hard lesson from her father and brothers. You can’t trust any man – not even those who are supposed to love and care for you. She had loved Kendrick forever and her father and brothers murdered him (he was barely 15) to keep her from marrying him. Five years later she still passionately hates them and is just biding her time before she leaves for good. First, however, she must find a treatment and/or cure for her sister’s asthma. To do that, she sneaks out at night and visits taverns and other locations seeking out visiting physicians.

Patrick MacGregor is a charming rogue whose smile and charming words can get him out of almost any situation. If the smile and words aren’t enough he is a strong, quick almost invincible warrior. He has always avoided responsibility because he loved being able to go when and where he wanted with no entanglements. Currently, he is on his way to visit with his uncles (Ferguson’s) when he stops in a tavern for a meal and a drink and sees a shadowy figure move through the tavern – and their eyes lock.

Charlie’s family have long been enemies with the Ferguson’s and that feud renewed when Charlie’s father ordered Kendrick to be murdered. The Ferguson’s retaliated by attacking the Cunningham’s and Charlie’s mother was one of the casualties.

When Patrick is captured by the Cunningham’s he claims to be a Campbell and is welcomed into the fold. Charlie’s greedy, arrogant father hopes for a marriage match between her and the powerful Campbell’s. As Patrick and Charlie spend time together, more and more of their shields drop. Can they drop those shields and find their HEA or will an unexpected twist tear them apart? You’ll just have to read the story to see what happens.

Now – to me, one of the biggest holes has to do with Elsie’s illness. The Fergusons and Cunningham’s were friends before Kendrick was murdered – or at least the mothers were. So, why wouldn’t they have known of her illness (she’d had it since early childhood) and they could have offered the cure? She was also secretly seeing their son and surely he would have known. Just doesn’t make sense to me.

I hate that Robbie Dunbar died and I saw absolutely no reason for it.

We saw little of Charlie’s father. I think he would have been better featured as an antagonist. He was just sort of there and very dull. You would have thought he would have been a bigger villain. You have to wonder what he thought of Kendrick being found alive and what he would have done about it.

I liked Duff, but some reviewers didn’t. He is a tortured, very tortured, young man. He’s lost the love of his sister. He is guilty of a sin by omission rather than by commission. That doesn’t make him any less guilty, but it does make him at least a tad more sympathetic. Maybe he’ll get his redemption in the next book.

I would have liked to see more of Patrick’s parents toward the end of the book. The reception back on Skye was just a little too vague.

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

Highland Promise by Alyson McLayne

Highland Promise (The Sons of Gregor MacLeod #1)Highland Promise by Alyson McLayne

Series: Sons of Gregor MacLeod, #1

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very enjoyable read, I hadn’t read anything by this author before, but I really liked her writing style and will definitely be reading the future books in this series!

The book opens with the set up for the series, in which Gregor MacLeod has defeated five other clans and demands that they foster their sons with him. He will raise the boys as brothers and teach them to be honorable warriors. The fathers have varying reactions, but in the end they all agree.

Darach MacKenzie first meets Caitlin MacInnes when he rescues her from his greatest enemy, Laird Fraser. Caitlin has been beaten and is barely coherent when Darach saves her – she is grateful to him, but doesn’t entirely trust him. So she only tells him part of her story – leaving out some very important details. Darach is attracted to Caitlin, but he has been burned by love and is not willing to let this woman into his heart, no matter how lovely or charming she is!

Caitlin is a delightful heroine, she is kind, naïve, innocent and funny, she also is trouble looking for a place to happen – no intentionally, but trouble seems to follow her, especially as she is a trifle impulsive. Even with all the problems she causes, everyone who meets her, likes her and she has a very giving nature and gift with both animals and people.

As Darach comes to know Caitlin better, the more he wants her, but marriage is not something he is willing to consider – or is he? Once he finally decides to marry her, all hell breaks loose and the secrets Caitlin has been hiding may tear them apart.

I really liked this book, it vaguely reminded me of Mary McCall’s book – which coincidentally is also titled “Highland Promise”. It is a moving story with characters that have suffered a lot pain and betrayal, but it is lightened up considerably by Caitlin’s misadventures and charming personality and Darach’s responses to her. The writing is good, the story moves at a good pace, it is amusing, has steamy love scenes, great secondary characters, evil villains, a soulmate type of love and a satisfying ending.

I did feel like the end of the book was rushed a little bit, but it didn’t really take anything away from my overall enjoyment of the story. I would be happy to recommend this title and look forward to reading future books about the rest of the “brothers”.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

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