Lachlan by Hazel Hunter

This book is like Gladiator meets Outlander meets…Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Shockingly, it works!

What’s it About? 

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When Kinley Chandler abruptly lands in medieval Scotland, there isn’t much she’s leaving behind. With her body shattered and her military career over, Kinley has resigned herself to death. But in the past, all that changes. Lachlan McDonnel, the laird of a clan of immortal highlanders, can hardly believe his good fortune. Not only does the mysterious lass save his life, she awakens his heart in a way he’d thought no longer possible. But the druid spells that allow Lachlan’s clan to live forever have a dark side as well. He and his men know all too well that the magic folk never give without taking. Though he is sworn to protect them, the price of his loyalty may finally be too high.

First Impressions

We open on our heroine, Kinley, who has been gravely wounded as a soldier fighting in Afghanistan. She’s experiencing intense PTSD, has no family or friends for support, and has given up to the point where she’s ready to end it all. On a day trip away from the VA hospital in California, she’s prepared to roll her wheelchair off the edge of a cliff when she is suddenly transported to 14th century Scotland where her body is magically healed. As if that wasn’t shocking enough, a clan of immortal highlanders are battling against a legion of Roman vampires, and Kinley is able to assist the Scotsmen by shooting fire out of her hands. So…yeah. Believe it or not, the highlanders and Romans actually make a lot of sense story wise! Now, why a magical portal would transport someone from California to Scotland? Not sure.

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A Fantastical Blend

I was actually pleasantly surprised with how much this story pulled me in and wouldn’t let go! I finished reading it in a day as I traveled from Denver to Salt Lake City for work. We have history, fantasy, time travel, fierce warriors, magic, betrayal, revenge, and some unbelievably steamy sex scenes between Kinley and our highlander laird, Lachlan. Altogether I would say there are three main components at play here: the developing relationship between Kinley and Lachlan, the battle against the Roman legion, and the mystical element concerning Kinley’s travel through time and newfound fire powers. Shockingly, I think my favorite component was actually the fighting, and for one very important reason. Kinley is a freakin’ badass!

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You Go Girl!

As you all know, I love a strong female lead character, and Kinley represents this to the max! She’s not afraid to stand up for herself, and show the men a thing or two about fighting, strategy and hand-to-hand combat. Her persona is the perfect combination of sass, physical and mental strength. This is a woman who is taking advantage of her body’s sudden healing and will live her life to the fullest, even if it’s in another time and place than she’s used to. Kinley knows she’s in a historical era and land where women are inferior to men. But you know what? She doesn’t…give…a f*ck!

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Kinley isn’t afraid to speak up until she’s heard, even if it’s not necessarily what others want to hear. You go girl! And you go all day long! In addition to Kinley’s overall badassery, we also have this larger never-ending battle at hand between highlander and Roman that’s been raging for centuries. It’s a dark and violent battle, and these Roman vampires are merciless and pretty disgusting. Be prepared for some nasty descriptions of battle and blood-sucking murder/mayhem. ‘Twas interesting though!

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Druid Magic and Wonder

The mystical aspects of the novel, while interesting, also left me slightly confused at times. As I mentioned earlier, the reason Kinley is transported from present day California to 14th century Scotland isn’t fully explained. There is Druid magic at play which has made these highlanders immortal, and Romans become vampires. However, the interactions with the local mortals left me a bit befuddled, as these are small villages and the highlanders have been interacting with and protecting them from the Roman vampires for centuries. Yet their immortality is supposedly a secret?

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Then there’s Kinley’s fire power, which is so honed at one point and then completely vanishes the next. Huh? Lastly, the passion between Kinley and Lachlan is off the charts amazing, with so much detail and dirty talk, but at one point Lachlan’s snake tattoo gets involved in the bedroom activities in a rather…disturbing way. At least in my humble opinion! Can’t say it was a feature that was absolutely necessary. Their link is already undeniably intense, so I’m not sure we had to bring the tattoo into the grand scheme of things too?

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*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Immortal Highlander, book 1. Oh yeah, I’ll definitely be continuing with this series. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for our other highlander warriors.

Should you read it? This is an entertaining and action-packed read! It’s definitely dark at times, but the strength truly lies in the personalities of the characters. From Kinley’s strength to Lachlan’s soft side, his highlander brothers’ loyalty and even the evil of the Romans. It’s all just very believable even though we’re dealing with so many fantastical elements. It’s a uniquely compelling story, and while I can see how it might be too dark a read for some, I’m excited to see where this story is headed!!

Smut Level: Holy sh*t here people! Just because this is a historical read, don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s tame!! We’ve got extensive detail, and dirty talk galore. Which I must say whenever we have dirty talk mixed in with old time 14th century speak it kind of makes me giggle. Such a stark juxtaposition.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $0.99 Kindle Price. Allure Press. 382 Pages.

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Tess and the Highlander by May McGoldrick

I can’t believe you all let me go this long without reviewing a historical romance novel. Honestly, shame on me!

What’s it About?

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Tess
Tess Lindsay has spent most of her life on the remote Isle of May, uncertain of her identity. Raised by the two sole inhabitants of the island, she is left to fend for herself after their deaths, until a stranger washes ashore in a storm. Tess pulls him from the surf, not knowing that in saving the Highlander she is saving herself.

The Highlander
If good looks and a taste for adventure are a curse, Colin Macpherson is destined for ruin. Until he ends up a castaway on Tess’s windswept island, he’s been roaming the seas, seeking fame, fortune… and a different girl in every port. But his fascination for this strong-willed lass goes beyond her wild beauty, intriguing him as no girl ever does.

As Colin gains her trust, Tess reveals what little she knows about herself and her past. From her scant clues, though, Colin comes to one conclusion: he must return Tess to the mainland to reclaim her birthright, even if it means losing her to a destiny that does not include him.

First Impressions

Ok, so when it comes to historical romance reads, this one was just alright. It wasn’t bad in any sense of the word, but it was overall a rather predictable and basic romance. Not a whole lot of depth, but easy-going and still enjoyable. Also, we’ve got a Highlander in a kilt, so at least it has that going for it. This book also made me realize that my brain has now been conditioned to always picture Sam Heughan from Outlander as the male lead for any Highland romance. I don’t care that the lead in this book, Colin, has a physical appearance completely different than that of Sam. Sexy Highlander in my mind automatically reads Outlander to me. I suppose James Dornan could be an acceptable substitute.

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Plenty of Sass

My favorite character in this novel, hands down, had to be Tess. She had so much sass and spunk, and that isn’t something you necessarily always come across in historical romance leading ladies. No need for a fainting chaise in this one! Tess has been living alone on a remote island for a while now, and Colin is the first outsider she’s ever interacted with. He might be big, surly and intimidating, but that doesn’t mean Tess is afraid to speak her mind.

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With a Shipwreck Here, and a Shipwreck There

Tess has no concrete memory of what life was like before she washed up on the island during a storm when she was a child. She was raised by an elderly couple who recently passed away, but they ensured she was kept hidden from any outsider who visited the island when they were alive. When Colin washes ashore during another terrible storm, Tess can’t help but drag him to safety. While she initially tries to stay hidden from him, their paths on this small island eventually cross, and sparks are quick to fly.

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The Harsh Reality of Coming Home

The few memories Tess has of her former pre-island life are far from happy, and remain as blurred, fiery flashbacks which come to her in the forms of nightmares. When she eventually leaves the island with Colin, her flashbacks start to become more and more clear, specifically in regards to her overbearing mother. Tess is desperate to reunite with her mother, who is also her only living family. However, her mom’s hatred of Highlanders, and ill opinion of Colin presents a complicated inner struggle for Tess. She craves the closeness and affection of her mother, yet also refuses to stand for her mother viewing Colin as a barbarian. A complicated and dramatic homecoming to be sure!

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*Disclaimer: Yes, I realize every photo I used in this post was from the show Outlander. Yes, I understand it might have been overkill.But you know what, I don’t even care! I LOVE!!!

Series: MacPherson Clan, book 6. I haven’t read any of the others, and had no trouble following along. We do see characters from the other books though.

Should you read it? Good, not great. Predictable and sweet. Tess has been independent for so long, it’s inevitable she’ll clash with her overbearing and controlling mother upon reuniting.

Smut Level: A few make-out scenes, nothing more. The best part though was when they were on the island together, and Colin has to warm Tess up after she was hiding in the cold and rain to avoid him. Time to get cozy!!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.01 Kindle Price. May McGoldrick Books. 173 Pages.

 

 

Dragon Knight’s Shield by Mary Morgan

Just look at that cover! Look at the flames! There’s just something about a man in a kilt. Mmm.

What’s it About? 

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Angus MacKay, leader of the Dragon Knights, failed his brothers and his clan upon the death of his sister. Now he must fight the darkness of despair tempting his soul. Back on Scottish soil, he comes face to face with Deirdre who can wield a sword as mightily as his warriors, and he takes her captive. Yet, with each passing day, the fire dragon inside him roars to claim the one woman fate has destined for him.

Famed mystery writer, Deirdre Flanagan, is unprepared for the next chapter in her life. On a vacation to Scotland, she steps through the mists and enters into a skirmish alongside a Highlander. However, the fight has only begun, and now she must battle Angus as well as evil in order to claim the love of this Dragon Knight. Will their love be powerful enough to shield them from danger, or burn them to ashes?

First Impressions

It’s really hard not to draw comparisons between this novel and the Outlander series. After all, we have a modern woman who travels back in time, and falls in love with a hunky Scottish Highlander during a tumultuous time in history. What really sets this book apart though from Outlander is that once Deirdre travels through time we see a continuation of these magical and fantastical elements beyond the initial time travel. And surprisingly, I really enjoyed this aspect! It’s not like we just have a woman travel through time, and then everything else is normal. We’ve got Druids, dragons, fae and fianna! Not really sure what all of those things are, but I like ’em!

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Female Warrior

I absolutely loved that Deirdre was a strong, female warrior who could really hold her own in a world so different from her own. She could fight her way out of almost any predicament, and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and stand up to Angus when he was being a bit too medieval with his opinions.

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Although Deirdre experienced an initial phase of shell-shock at discovering she had travelled through time, she adapts fairly quickly. Especially in terms of speech, which was kind of hard to believe. However, wearing gowns instead of pants while sword-fighting proved continuously difficult for our heroine.

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A Non-Ending Ending

This is the fourth book of the Dragon Knights series, and the previous three dealt with each of Angus’ brothers. Seeing as there are four MacKay brothers, I just sort of assumed that this would be the final book in the series. As I was getting closer and closer to the end of the book, I couldn’t help but wonder why the drama of the story hadn’t been resolved yet. Although the book does end on a high note, it turns out there is a major “oh holy crap” moment towards the end which signals that the story is far from over.

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*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Order of the Dragon Knights, book 4. I haven’t read the first 3 books in this series, and although it was tricky at times to keep track of all the people and past events, I could still manage. I would still recommend reading the series in order though, as characters from the previous novels come together towards the end for a kind of reunion.

Should you Read It?  I wish I had known going in that this book wouldn’t result in a final conclusion, but I also can’t wait to see what happens next! The sexual tension between Deirdre and Angus is also off the charts amazing.

Smut Level: Angus often struggles to contain the fire dragon within him, but he has no problem bringing a lot of that passionate heat to the bedroom.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 315 Pages.