Under a Scottish Sky by Pamela Q. Fernandes

While searching for stars in the Scottish sky, Michelle manages to find love underneath them.

What’s it About? 36239163

Seeking stars, finding love! Michelle Reyes is a strong, guilt-ridden woman. Traveling as a nurse from her home in Manila to Scotland to see the stars, she meets Adrian, the son of her patient. She sees Adrian as arrogant, unforgiving and cruel. But is Adrian more than he appears to be?

First Impressions

I think I’ve said it before. If not, well I guess I better mention it here. Short novels are a tricky business. Their short length are so unique that they can allow you to skip over superfluous details, and get right down to business. They can also give a slight introduction or continuation of a story from a full-length novel that sort of teases you for something more. More often than naught however, I think short novels can act as a trap when what should probably be a full story instead crammed into something much shorter. Unfortunately, I think this story falls into the latter category. Overall, it was an intriguing story which captured my interest, and was filled with troubled yet relate-able characters. However, I couldn’t help but feel that the romance aspect of the tale between Michelle and Adrian felt somewhat rushed. In the end, I was left wanting more.


A Few More Pages Needed

Personally, I felt this was the type of story that really would have benefited from a longer page length. There’s just a lot going on! In addition to the obvious budding feelings of love between Michelle and Adrian, we also have her acting as a nurse and caretaker to his stroke-impacted mother (probably my fav story line), Adrian dealing with his own troubled relationship with his mom and deceased father, as well as an interesting dynamic involving Adrian’s former friend, ex-girlfriend and Michelle. Not to mention Michelle’s work visa issues to remain in Scotland after moving from the Philippines, and her own quest to find peace following the death of her parents years before. And last but not least, the attempt to see the stars hidden in the mist of Scotland’s grey and cloudy skies. All in 81 pages! Phew, kind of exhausting.


A Whirlwind Romance

So you can definitely see how there were plenty of plot points on hand to fill an entire novel. That being said, if we have to work within the parameters of a short novel, there is one more thing I would have wanted, which was just one more scene between Adrian and Michelle to focus on the dynamic of their evolving relationship. They seemingly moved rather quickly from acquaintances to crushes to feelings of actual love. We were really only offered one detailed scene which highlighted their connection on an emotional level, and that was when Michelle explained the tragic reasoning behind her desperate search to find stars in the night sky.


This moment offered us one of the most endearing and enchanting scenes of the novel. However, I think the overall story would have been strengthened significantly from one additional scene where we could have seen the vulnerable side of Adrian. Instead, we have brief mentions of how they “chatted” or “spent time together”, but delving deeper into one of those particular moments could have made their relationship seem slightly more plausible. Again, all the pieces were there for something spectacular, but the details needed to be more fully fleshed out.

The Brightest Star

There was one character in this tale who I think was provided with the most development in terms of her story arch, and that would be Adrian’s mother. From her first scene you can’t help but fall in love with her kindness. She’s struggling to survive following her stroke, as well as deal with the fact her son resents her, but she manages to take things all in stride. Michelle also has the ability to bring out the best in her, not to mention help her find joy in the things she used to love about life. The mother’s story has a definite arch, and it was an emotionally compelling and poignant part of the plot, not to mention one of the main driving forces which brought Michelle and Adrian together.


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

Series: Nope! Although I’d love to see either a continuation of this story, or perhaps even see it developed into a full-length book.

Should you read it? This short novel is a quick read which definitely draws you in, but ultimately I was left wanting more. I think the story could have benefited from maybe one more scene focusing on the development of Michelle and Adrian’s relationship. Also, certain aspects were rushed to the point where we couldn’t fully get to know our two main characters. There seemed to be so much to Adrian’s back story that could have been expanded upon. Michelle also had a number of tearful moments which could have been spread out more.

Smut Level: Some brief kisses between our two unlikely lovebirds.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $1.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 81 Pages.

Lachlan by Hazel Hunter

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

What’s it About? 


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.



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!


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!


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!


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?


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?


*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.

Outlander Returns!

If you’re an Outlander fan like me, then you undoubtedly jumped for joy, and maybe even cried a little bit when the fantabulous Season 3 premiered on Starz last week.


And what a premier it was! Honestly, I think it might have been Sam Heughan’s best performance to date, and the dude pretty much just laid on his back throughout the entirety of the show. But my God did he do it well.


I’m also so unbelievably grateful that they’ve found a way to incorporate more of Frank’s character into the TV show. Let’s face it, prominent scenes featuring Frank in the later books within the series are almost non-existent, so I really do enjoy seeing how they’re able to creatively incorporate his character into the show. I mean, the onscreen chemistry between Tobias Menzies and Caitriona Balfe is absolute perfection. I completely understand why they’d want to keep him around for as long as possible!


An amazing start to the series for sure. And yes, I was ugly crying for a large portion of the show. When I told my sister and mom they were like, “Oh, you cried? Which part?” Ummm, the barn scene? Are you kidding me??? Gosh, even thinking about it now….give me a moment.


Unfortunately I also found out another Outlander detail last Sunday that almost brought tears to my eyes, and not in a good way. About a year ago, I finally finished what I thought was the last main book in the series, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. Not gonna lie you guys, I was not a fan of the last few books of this series. Starting with about book 5, each novel was a massive tome of about 1000 pages or more, and there was so much needless historical detail that had little to do with the plot I couldn’t help but be bored. But I trudged through it and finally finished them all…OR SO I THOUGHT!


Lo and behold, last Sunday I discover that Diana Gabaldon is writing a ninth book, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone. Whyyyyyy?????


Look, book 8 ended on a fine note, can’t we just leave the damn bees where they are and call it a day? I’m sure this is a dream come true for a lot of Outlander fans who can’t wait to read more about Jamie and Claire. And most of them probably already knew this ninth book was a thing, and I’m just laughingly late to the party. I just keep thinking about how this signals another 5 months or so of my life reading about daily life and hygiene in the 18th century. And why do I think this book will be a continuation of the boredom I experienced in books 5-8? Well, let’s see what Diana Gabaldon herself has to say about the upcoming release, shall we?


“My books are huge”. “2-3 years…to write and research and publish”. I love the dedication to the craft, but what if the books were…less huge? Please?


Now don’t get me wrong. I’m gonna read this book when it releases. I’ve come this far, I’m not gonna back down now. I’ll try and go in with an open mind, but it’s going to be hard considering how much of the last few books I just skimmed through because I wanted to get to the actual story already. Here’s to hoping that book 9 will be just as good as this Season 3 premier was! Or that the TV show will still be up and running, and just as fantabulous as ever by the time book 9 actually releases!!


Where do you Want to Go? 

Have you ever been reading a novel, romance or otherwise, and find that the setting is described in such amazingly fluid detail that you wish you could go there yourself? If you have, believe me you’re not alone. And if you haven’t, what the heck are you reading?

I believe that sometimes the setting of a novel can almost be like another character. A truly talented author can make a particular place or location come alive. There are a few different locales I’ve come across in my romance novel reading that sound so amazing, I find myself itching to find out how much it would cost to go there. I thought it would be fun to share a few of those locations that have somehow ended up on my travel bucket list. Feel free to share your own in the comment section, whether they be romantic getaways, places bustling with fun activities, fictional locations that only exist on paper, or post-apocalyptic destinations where you feel the urge to show off your terminator destruction skills. I want to hear them all!


Whether it be the Scottish Highlands, or the capital city of Edinburgh, I wanna go! This is a place that pre-romance novel me never really had a strong desire to visit. I mean, sure, if I had the opportunity to go I probably would have jumped at the chance, but it has now become a place that I long to see for myself. And there are two main novels which I can point to for stoking my flames of travel desire.

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The first is extremely obvious: Outlander. I know, I know, I’m such a cliché. But you know what, I don’t really care. This was really the first novel I can remember which made me want to see the green rolling hills of the Highlands. It also made me appreciate men who wear kilts. Although, I may have the TV show to thank for that one. I’m sure a lot of us Outlander fans have that same mental picture in our mind of riding horseback through a sea of endless green with a hunky Highlander either right next to or behind us. In reality, I’m sure it’s cold and rainy for most of the time, and I’d probably be too cheap to actually go horseback riding for a day. However, I think I could get my castle touring groove on to have a good time.


The second novel that made me more interested in seeing the modern-day, bustling city of Edinburgh was On Dublin Street. For those of you who don’t know, this novel is set in Edinburgh, not Ireland, in spite of the title having “Dublin” in it. I feel like all I’d really need to do to have a good time would be to sit in a restaurant/bar, and just eavesdrop on other people having conversations in one of the sexiest of sexy accents. Oh my, it’s getting a little hot in here. But seriously, in this book the city really does come alive with all of it’s history, and I think it’d be a neat place to visit one day.



Now, I know what most of you are probably thinking. Wyoming? Seriously? Yeah, I know, it seems a little out there, but I’ve come to love whenever there is a romance novel set in this state. It always seems so peaceful to me. Secluded ranches surrounded by beautiful open countryside, with mountains in the distance. Seems like the perfect place to curl up with a good book, a cup of hot cocoa, and a sexy ass cowboy building a fire. Is Wyoming actually like this in real life? I have absolutely no idea. I’m guessing no? Even if it was I’m sure I’d get bored in about a day, but it seems like there might be enough beautiful scenery to warrant a visit.


Any East Coast Sea-Side Town

Damn you Nicholas Sparks! He is simply a magician at making these sleepy towns seem like the perfect place to live. Again, I’m sure I’d get bored in about a nanosecond. What can I say? I’m a big city girl through and through. However, I’ll admit that whenever I read a romance by someone like RaeAnne Thayne set in one of these quiet towns where everyone knows everyone, I do get an urge to see if it lives up to the hype.


Maybe I just need a vacation where I can rent a little beach house for a week or two, and sit with my Kindle all day long in pure relaxation. Ahhh, such bliss. Oh, and a hunk like Noah to row me around in a boat during the afternoon would be much appreciated as well.


Seeking Solace by Adrienne Dunning

This woman is living the dream! She moved to Scotland, and fell in love with a sexy Scottish pub owner who also happens to sing. Okay, so she may have been jilted at the altar before making her big move across the ocean, but what a payoff!

What’s it About? 


Sometimes to take a step in the right direction you have to run away. Sarah Collier’s life has always been scripted for her, according to the expectations of her domineering, socially-connected Connecticut family. Everything always went as planned…until the unthinkable happened moments before walking down the aisle. On a whim, she does the first thing that comes to mind—she takes off on her honeymoon, alone. However, Sarah has never acted on spontaneity, so the impromptu trip may not be what Sarah thinks it will.

The quaint and rustic harbor village of North Berwick on Scotland’s East Lothian coast is typically devoid of tourists in the winter. So when an auburn-haired stranger who wanders into his pub on a cold, Sunday evening, Bretton Keith, self-assured and flirtatious pub owner that he is, sees the opportunity for another brief and fun fling to break up the monotony of a village winter. As Bretton comes to know the sad and beautiful Sarah, he finds it increasingly difficult to uphold his credo of never becoming attached. Can he forget the mistakes of the past and learn to trust another with his heart? All the while, Sarah is experiencing a new-found freedom to dare think of her life in a different way, to truly consider what it is that she wants and what it is that will make her happy. Will Sarah be brave enough to risk it on a man who was so hurt by another that he swore off ever falling in love again, or will the demands of her family prove too big an obstacle to overcome?

First Impressions

If I were left at the altar because my dick of a fiance ran off with another woman, I would do the exact same thing Sarah did. Go off on a solo-honeymoon, and listen to my Scottish lover whisper sweet nothings to me with that delicious accent. Although, I most likely would have taken a little detour first to kick that other son of a b*tch fiance’s cheating ass!! One of my absolute favorite moments in this book though was when Sarah stood up to her family with some girl power when they expressed such disappointment at her failed engagement. Best line I’ve read in a long time: “Being single is not a disease.” Amen sister! Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you’re defective, undesirable, or weird. If only more people I knew agreed with that statement :/

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A Little More Info Please

Sarah and Brett had an instant attraction for one another, and were quick to open up about their respective pasts. His ex left because he didn’t want to be a corporate stooge, while Sarah’s parents want her to come back to the US to try to make things work with Daryl. This is where I would have liked a little more back-story. Apparently, Sarah’s parents have been hoping for this marriage for years so that their businesses can be joined together. Seems a little 19th century to me.


I really wanted to know why her parents were so unbelievably desperate for a business partner, that they were willing to throw away their daughter’s happiness to obtain it. The fact that they were more supportive of the philandering Daryl than Sarah seriously makes me question what in the actual hell was going on with their business. This lack of information also made it pretty hard for me to believe that two parents could be so heartless.

Some Room for Improvement

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. Sarah’s journey to overcome the hurt of her past was inspiring, and Brett’s passionate intent to be the man who helps her move on was oh so yummy. That being said, some things could have been tweaked. Firstly, the cover. Yeah, yeah, I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, blah, blah, blah. Well, I’m sorry but I just wasn’t feeling this cover. One of the things which really stood out in this novel was how Brett was immediately drawn to Sarah, and vice versa. I don’t really see that connection between the cover models. Also, the book is set in Scotland for crying out loud! Work in that landscape!


Secondly, the ending was a little cheesy. Normally, I’m all for the cheese, but when Sarah suddenly got up on stage in Brett’s pub and sang along with his band to make a grand gesture, it was a bit much. I mean, now she suddenly sings? When the hell did that happen? The only way you’d find me in that kind of situation was if I had 5 other people up on stage singing along with me, and every last person in the bar was sloshed from an excessive consumption of tequila shots.

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

Series: Nope

Should you read it? Although the cover art wasn’t my favorite, and the ending had a Velveeta cheese influence, those factors didn’t really detract from the interesting story of moving on from a hurtful past. And moving under a hunky Scottish bartender instead. Humina.

Smut Level: These were very clean love scenes, but that doesn’t mean they were lacking in passion. Hell, they even did it in his pub! But there was no dirty talk or excessive description involved.

Get in on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. ViridianFire Publications. 186 Pages.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Would I recommend Outlander to a friend? Sure! If I knew they had about 2 months to spare, because that’s probably how long it’ll take to finish. The plot may be strong, and full of twists and turns, but at over 870 pages it should have been broken up into 2 books. Or maybe 5.outlander

Claire Randall is a married woman living in 1945, spending a romantic second honeymoon away with her husband when she is suddenly whisked away through some Scottish standing stones to another time. 1743 to be exact. So much for a relaxing night in front of the fire with your hubby.

While adjusting to this new time, she meets a rugged Scottish warrior named James (Jamie) Fraser who has a pretty impressive long sword, if you know what I mean (hint, hint; wink, wink). What’s a woman to do? I think we all have some pretty unsavory ideas.

Despite the extensive length of this novel, it is actually very successful in keeping your interest throughout the whole thing. There’s danger, family struggle, rescuing of the damsel in distress, and even the man in distress! Granted, you’ll need about 100 note cards to keep all of the names straight, as there are about a billion different people you’re introduced to, and they all tend to blend together. Claire is a very likable and strong heroine, although I found it somewhat unbelievable that she handles being transported in time so well. She sort of just chalks it up to fate, and decides to roll with it. Hell, if it were me I’d probably be crouching in a corner crying and pulling my hair out. But that’s just me.

Consider this a minor spoiler alert: Claire and Jamie engage in some hiding the broadsword between the sheets. As far as their nocturnal activities are concerned, they are nice and steamy, and provided in some explicit detail. Jamie might be a rough around the edges Scotsman, but he’s actually very loving and surprisingly sweet when it comes to Claire. He’ll quickly become your ideal warrior. Yummy!

Series: Outlander series, book 1 of 8

Should you read it? Yes, especially since they just started the TV series on Starz. I’ve been waiting for this for over 7 years!!

Smut Level: When you’re finished with this book you’ll probably want to buy a one way ticket to Scotland, and search for your very own standing stones to travel through.

Buy it on Amazon: Click Here