2019 Book #65 – Christmas in Kilts by Various authors

61R+s8NYm7LTitle: Christmas in Kilts
Author: Terri Brisbin, Lecia Cornwall, Bronwen Evans, Lavinia Kent, and May McGoldrick
Date finished: 9/1/19
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Pages in book: 494
Stand alone or series: Many of the stories are part of other series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Tis the season to fall in love! These five bestselling authors bring you great tiding of highlanders and romances this holiday season!

A HIGHLANDER’S HOPE by Terri Brisbin
A village harlot who would never dream she could have a different life meets a Highlander who visits for the holidays and brings with him an offer and hope.

A HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS WAGER by Lecia Cornwall
When a snowstorm forces a charming lass hiding a broken heart to take shelter in a castle with three fine Highland lairds just days before Christmas, there’s a game afoot—who will be the first to win a kiss and maybe her heart.

A SCOT FOR CHRISTMAS by Bronwen Evans
She’s ready to embrace her life and future as a spinster, he’s trying to have one last hurrah before he gives into his family’s wishes and proposes marriage to his neighbor, but fate has other ideas when the lady and the Scot meet at a holiday house party in the wilds of Scotland.

LEFTOVER MISTLETOE by Lavinia Kent
What happens when a highlander finds himself stranded, maybe kidnapped, with an English lady around Christmas… maybe the mistletoe will help answer that question.

SWEET HOME HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS by May McGoldrick
An encounter between an English officer and a desperate aunt trying to keep custody of her young niece leads to a little magic during the holidays.

My rating:  2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I had originally requested this book back in late Fall 2017, thinking it would be a great into to the Holiday season. And I stand by that thought, I think if I had read this during a different time I might have enjoyed it a little more. I liked a couple of these stories ok but I can’t say that I loved any of them. Granted I was reading them over Labor Day weekend when Summer is just wrapping up and it was still really warm. I feel like part of the draw of these novellas specifically is that they’re geared to the Holiday season. I think I liked the last one (Sweet Home Highland Christmas by May McGoldrick) best, as it was (I thought) the cutest story line while not being overtly corny. There were things I liked and disliked about each book, however overall now of them particularly grabbed my interest. They were still sweet and easy reads and I sometimes enjoy an anthology since you can take each novella as it’s own part. I’d recommend it if you enjoy Highlander novels or Christmas novellas.

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

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2019 Book #54 – A Highlander Walks into a Bar by Laura Trentham

51tkiNhStZLTitle: A Highlander Walks into a Bar
Author: Laura Trentham
Date finished: 8/1/19
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Pages in book: 311
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Highland, Georgia series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

The timeless romance, soaring passion—and gorgeous men—of Scotland come to modern-day America. And the rules of love will never be the same…

Isabel Buchanan is fiery, funny, and never at a loss for words. But she is struck speechless when her mother returns from a trip to Scotland with a six-foot-tall, very handsome souvenir. Izzy’s mother is so infatuated by the fellow that Izzy has to plan their annual Highland Games all by herself. Well, not completely by herself. The Highlander’s strapping young nephew has come looking for his uncle…

Alasdair Blackmoor has never seen a place as friendly as this small Georgia town—or a girl as brilliant and beguiling as Izzy. Instead of saving his uncle, who seems to be having a lovely time, Alasdair decides he’d rather help Izzy with the Highland Games. Show her how to dance like a Highlander. Drink like a Highlander. And maybe, just maybe, fall in love with a Highlander. But when the games are over, where do they go from here?

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I finished this book for ARC August 2019! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because this year they have a bunch of fun games and challenges, including one of my favorite things, reading bingo! This book will be checking off my “Finish 1 ARC that DOES NOT have a picture of a girl on the cover” box since the cover only features one brawny looking Scotsman.

I’ve read a few books from Laura Trentham’s Cottonbloom series in the past and I have enjoyed them, so I was excited to see she had a new series coming out. I enjoyed this book, it was cute and sweet. The relationship development between Alasdair and Isabel I thought was really well done. I was really engaged in their relationship and also their banter was hilarious. Isabel was precocious and charming and Alasdair sounded handsome and funny. The rest of the story line fell a little flat for me – there wasn’t anything overtly exciting about it – but it was a solid story. There was also an interesting lead in into the next book. The townspeople were a great asset to the story since they were all so funny and added to the overall charm of the story. I’d recommend this for a sweet and quick read!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

A Highlander Walks into a Bar BLOG TOUR!!

A Highlander Walks into a Bar by Laura Trentham was released this past Tuesday, and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! I’m hoping to have my review up today, I read it this past week on vacation but didn’t have internet so I have to catch up on reviews! See below for more information about the book, a short author bio, and an excerpt! 

SUMMARY

The timeless romance, soaring passion—and gorgeous men—of Scotland comes to modern-day America. And the rules of love will never be the same…

Isabel Buchanan is fiery, funny, and never at a loss for words. But she is struck speechless when her mother returns from a trip to Scotland with a six-foot-tall, very handsome souvenir. Izzy’s mother is so infatuated by the fellow that Izzy has to plan their annual Highland Games all by herself. Well, not completely by herself. The Highlander’s strapping young nephew has come looking for his uncle…

Alasdair Blackmoor has never seen a place as friendly as this small Georgia town—or a girl as brilliant and beguiling as Izzy. Instead of saving his uncle, who seems to be having a lovely time, Alasdair decides he’d rather help Izzy with the Highland Games. Show her how to dance like a Highlander. Drink like a Highlander. And maybe, just maybe, fall in love with a Highlander. But when the games are over, where do they go from here?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura Trentham is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance, including Then He Kissed Me and The Military Wife. She is a member of RWA, and has been a finalist multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.

BUY IT HERE!

EXCERPT

51tkiNhStZLFrom A Highlander Walks into a Bar. Copyright © 2019 by Laura Trentham and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

Chapter One

“I brought home a surprise!” Rose Buchanan threw her arms out wide as if embracing the world. From the stories she told to the way she entered the room, Rose was exuberant and entertaining and enjoyed being the center of attention.

Isabel Buchanan, who was perfectly content on the fringes, pushed her wavy hair off her sticky forehead with hands that trembled from the nightmare drive through Atlanta to the airport to pick up her mom. Her mom’s trip to Scotland had doubled as both research and vacation. The jammed stop-and-go traffic had left Izzy flustered and already dreading their exit from the airport.

Rolling her stiff shoulders, Izzy stepped around the bumper of the car, popping the trunk open on the way. Her mom had a beautiful plaid scarf of greens and browns and blues tossed over her shoulder and what appeared to be new earrings. Either purchase might inspire her mother to gush, and she would expect reciprocal gushing from Izzy. Making an educated guess, Izzy asked, “Are those earrings your surprise?”

Without waiting for an answer, she hauled one of her mom’s giant wheeled suitcases closer and prepared to heave it into the back. The sooner they got out of Atlanta, the sooner she could get back to work planning the High- land festival. Or she might pour an extra-large glass of wine and escape into a book. A guilty pleasure, considering how much she still had to get in order in three scant weeks.

“Allow me, please.” A bearded man who had been rolling cases to the curb stepped forward with a grin and an accent Izzy couldn’t place.

She checked her pockets and winced. No cash to tip the man, and no hope her mom had thought of something so inconsequential.

“Do you like them? They’re hammered silver.” Her mom flipped her bobbed matching silver hair to the side and displayed one earring with her fingers. “And as a matter of fact, I did buy them from a lovely shop in Edinburgh, but I brought something bigger home. Something more exciting.”

“Your scarf? It’s lovely.” Izzy gave her mom limited attention while she watched the man load suitcase after suitcase into her trunk, fitting them together like a puzzle. More luggage than her mom had left with. She waved to catch the man’s attention. “Hang on. That’s not all my mom’s stuff.”

For the first time, Izzy really looked at the man. He was close to her mom in age, and good-looking in a bear- like way with a gleaming white smile highlighted by a salt-and-pepper beard. His full head of hair was a shade darker, but graying heavily at the temples. The expression on the man’s face when he looked in her mom’s direction—a mix of adoration and amusement—cleared the fog of confusion.

Lord have mercy, her mother had brought back a six- foot, two-hundred-pound-plus souvenir from Scotland.

 

Getting Hot with the Scot BLOG TOUR!!

Getting_Hot_with_the_Scot_Tour_Banner

Getting Hot with the Scot by Melonie Johnson was released this past Tuesday, and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! I’m hoping to have my review up within the next couple days, so far I’m really enjoying the book! See below for more information about the book, a short author bio, and an excerpt! 

SUMMARY

The first in a new series, a journalist focused on her career and a sexy Scottish comedian turn a one night stand into forever.

Cassie Crow leaves for vacation with two goals: fill up her empty charm bracelet and have a one night stand. For once, she wants to have fun instead of obsessively checking her work email. And kissing a man in a castle who’s dressed as a Scottish Highlander is the perfect solution.

Except when that man turns out to be Logan Reid, the host of a popular sketch show—and Cassie has just been roped into his latest prank. She wants nothing to do with his antics, but that was a really great kiss, and one night together couldn’t hurt.

It’s clear that one night isn’t enough and when Logan’s show brings him closer to Cassie, they decide to give dating a try. Can the woman who’s focused solely on her career and the man who refuses to take life seriously make it work?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A Star Wars junkie and Shakespeare groupie who quotes both Yoda and the Bard with equal aplomb, award-winning author Melonie Johnson—aka #thewritinglush—is a two-time RWA Golden Heart® finalist who loves dark coffee, cheap wine, and expensive beer. And margaritas. And mimosas. And mules. Basically any cocktail that starts with the letter m. She met her future husband in that most romantic of places—the mall—when they were teenagers working in stores across the hall from each other. They went on to live happily ever after in the suburbs of Chicago with two redhead daughters, a dog that’s more like a small horse, and a trio of hermit crabs. After earning her Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude from Loyola University Chicago, Melonie taught high school English and Theatre in the northern Chicago suburbs for several years. Now she writes smart and funny contemporary romance and moonlights as an audiobook narrator under the pseudonym, Evelyn Eibhlin.

BUY IT HERE!

EXCERPT

51HxXsW4HGL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_Would you look at that? The man is wearing a kilt.

Note to self: Cassie Crow—be careful what you wish for.

The man groaned again and raised a hand to shield his eyes from the sunlight now cutting across the hidden al- cove.

“Are you all right?”

“I will be fine once ye douse that blasted light.” He squinted up at her. “Be ye a new chambermaid?”

Chambermaid? She eyed the wide sleeves and open neck of the old-fashioned piratey shirt he wore. “Not sure what kind of weird-ass stuff you’re into buddy, but I don’t do RPG.”

“Weird . . . ass?” His dark red brows drew together as he shaped his mouth around the letters. “Are pee gee?”

“Role playing games. You know, like cosplay or what- ever.” She pointed at him. “Look, you’re the one wearing that get-up and talking like a reject from Macbeth.”

He narrowed his eyes at her finger. “Be ye a witch?” “What did you call me?”

With another groan, he lurched forward. Oh God, what if he was hurt? For all she knew he was a member of some historic castle tour who got lost in a back passageway and hit his head. She leaned down to inspect him for bruises.

He threw a hand out, palm up, warding her off. “Back away, sorceress,” he hissed.

“Seriously?” She slapped his hand out of the way. “Here, let me help you out of there.” Cassie tugged gently on his shoulder. The voluminous shirt was loose, but she could feel—and appreciate—the thick spread of muscle beneath the soft fabric.

Just my luck, I finally run into a hot Highlander, and he’s delusional.

The man waved off her assistance and struggled to his feet, shaking a wild tousle of thick, red hair out of his eyes. Cassie never fancied herself to be a ginger girl, but it worked on him . . . or maybe that was the kilt talking. She eyed the swath of plaid fabric wrapped around his hips and wondered, like any female in her position would, what might or might not be under there. Reluctantly, she raised her gaze and caught him scrutinizing her in return.

“What be these strange breeks ye wear?” he asked, moving in a circle around her.

Cassie swore she could feel the weight of each of his eyeballs resting on her denim-clad backside. Fair enough. After a prolonged moment, she glanced over her shoulder. “Get a good look?”

“Aye.” He swallowed. “’Tis most unseemly, lass.” He shook his head, gaze still glued to her ass.

“They’re called jeans.” She pivoted to face him. “Are you for real?”

He met her gaze, his answer falling from his lips in a deep, rich brogue with trilling r’s that curled her toes, “Aye, lass, I’m real.”

Cassie’s heart hiccupped. Of course he’s real. Unless those shots were stronger than I thought. “Were you at the whisky tasting?”

“Whisky?” His green-gold eyes lit with interest. “Do ye have whisky for me, then? I could use a wee dram. Be a good lass and fetch it for me.”

“Ha! I think you’ve had enough, mister. Is that how you ended up stuck in there?” Even as she said this, Cassie doubted it. She didn’t smell a hint of alcohol on him, though she did pick up other pleasant smells. Mint and clove and man and . . . Stop being ridiculous.

His broad shoulders lifted and dropped. “I dinna ken.” “How long were you in there?”

Another shrug.

Cassie dragged her attention away from the wide curve of his shoulders and leaned past him, inspecting the dark, narrow space behind the bookshelf.

He grabbed her wrist and pulled her back, panic edging his voice. “Nay, lass. Doona be going in there.”

“Why not?” She inched forward and tried to get a better look.

“It canna be safe.” He tugged on her wrist again, his fingers warm and firm.

Tiny butterflies danced along the path where his skin touched hers. She brushed away the tingling sensation and slipped out of his grip, careful not to snag her bracelet. “Well, you were in there, and you appear to have man- aged.”

“Are ye daft, wench? I was trapped!”

She sniffed, not sure she liked being referred to as a wench, and frowned up at him. “What’s the last thing you remember?”

He closed his eyes and slumped against the shelf. “I canna recall anything afore the moment I woke to find myself crammed within yonder wall.” He blinked and focused intently on her. “The moment I found you, lass.”

Cassie decided she liked being called lass much better than wench, especially when he was looking at her like that. Gazes locked, her other senses sharpened, heightening her awareness of his body and its proximity to hers. She cleared her throat. “Hm. I think it’d be more accurate to say I’m the one who found you.” Telling herself she was only searching for injuries, she reached up and tentatively skimmed her palms along his temples, her fingers trailing his scalp.

“Looking for devil’s horns?” The man cocked one wicked brow at her as he raised his arms to mirror her movements, running his hands over her head and shoulders before brushing his palms down her back. “Ye’ve naught got any fairy wings, so I’d say we’re even. In fact,” he whispered against her hair, standing so close the low burr of his voice became a purr in her own chest, “ye feel perfect to me.”

Like the migrating monarchs her dad studied, the butterflies made a return trip, enveloping her in a fluttery haze. She shivered. Whether it was the Scot or the scotch or both, Cassie didn’t care. He was here and she was here, and damn it all, it was about time she skipped to the good stuff. With a forceful mental click, Cassie turned off her brain, tilted her chin up, and caught his mouth with hers.

He made a low sound in the back of his throat, of pro- test or surprise, she wasn’t sure. But then his hands settled at her waist, and he returned the kiss. His mouth was somehow soft and hard at the same time, and when he slipped his tongue between her lips, she felt more light- headed than if she’d downed every shot of whisky that had been on that tasting list.

Cassie rolled her tongue against his, savoring the delicious contact. He met her thrust for thrust, deepening the kiss until she was swept away on a tidal wave of desire. This. This is what I’ve been waiting for. She clung to him, hands gripping his shoulders, swimming in sensation, drowning in it.

 

2018 Book #82 – A Rose in the Highlands by Heather McCollum

51nZ6ag7bULTitle: A Rose in the Highlands
Author: Heather McCollum
Date finished: 9/28/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: September 24, 2018
Pages in book: 349
Stand alone or series: #1 in Highlands Roses School series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

1684, Scottish Highlands

Englishwoman Evelyn Worthington is resolved to build a school for ladies in her brother’s newly purchased Scottish castle. But when she arrives, not only does she find the castle scorched by fire, but a brawny Highlander bars her entry.

Clan chief Grey Campbell would rather die than see his family home, Finlarig Castle, fall into English hands, so Grey must win the battle of wills with the beautiful Sassenach who flashes a bill of sale before him.

When the war between Evelyn and Grey escalates, passions flare. But outsiders have their own plans for Finlarig. After secrets are revealed, and muskets are lit, the fates of the Campbell Clan, the school, and a possible future for Grey and Evelyn are in as much jeopardy as their lives

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I really liked this book, I haven’t read anything by this author before so I wasn’t sure what to expect but this book had a good plot and great characters. I loved the overall message of the book especially, that women are important and are just as intelligent, if not more intelligent, than men. It was interesting to see a feminist novel hiding within a Highlander romance novel. Grey’s character was a perfect hero, he was brooding and temperamental but so protective of Evelyn. At the same time, though, he was very open minded and was able to open his heart to an English woman and also able to realize the importance of women in the accomplishments of his society. There was also a little danger to the story, a few heart racing and suspenseful scenes. It was a good book, and honestly, I can’t wait to read Scarlet’s story and find out more about her character. I would recommend this book and look forward to reading more by this author.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2018 Book #52 – The Highlander’s Promise by Lynsay Sands

51EWBa8kD6LTitle: The Highlander’s Promise
Author: Lynsay Sands
Date finished: 6/22/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: #6 in the Highland Brides series
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss
NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Aulay Buchanan has retreated to his clan’s hunting lodge for a few days of relaxation. But the raven-haired beauty he pulls from the ocean puts an end to any chance of rest. Though he christens her Jetta, she knows nothing of her real identity, save that someone is trying to kill her. As she recovers, it will not be easy for Aulay to protect her and keep her honor intact when she mistakenly believes they are man and wife…

Jetta sees beyond Aulay’s scars to the brave, loyal warrior she’s proud to call her own. But as the attempts on her life grow more brazen, Jetta realizes that not all is as she believes. And if Aulay is not her husband, can she trust the desire flaring in his eyes, or his promise to defend her with his life?

My rating:  4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Over the years I’ve always enjoyed Lynsay Sand’s novels, be they about vampires or Highlanders, and this book was no exception! Parts of this book were laugh out loud funny, there was definitely a lot of humor in this novel. There were also some pretty steamy scenes between the hero and heroine, the gradual build up of their relationship and their chemistry just leaped off the page. This was a really sweet love story, and while there was a little bit too much flowery, mushy speeches for me, I still really enjoyed the journey of their romance. The plot line was also pretty good, there were some good plot twists and the main characters and also supporting characters were all interesting. I thought this was a really enjoyable read and I would recommend it!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

The Highlander Is All That BLOG TOUR!!

Highlander Banner

The Highlander Is All That was released TODAY Tuesday, October 10th, and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! If you haven’t already seen it, you can find my review of the book under Book Reviews on my site (hopefully later tonight!). See below for more information about the book, a short author bio, and an excerpt! This was a good read and I would recommend checking it out!

SUMMARY

Elizabeth St. Claire has always been hard to please. Dreaming solely of Highlander men her whole life, no prancing London Lord can stand a chance at winning her heart…

… But perhaps a Scotsman can.

Elizabeth watches intrigued as the Highlander of her dreams, a Scotsman named Hamish Robb, arrives to oversee her season at the behest of her cousin, the Duke of Caithness. Elizabeth doesn’t hide her feelings for the striking Scot. But Hamish, determined to obey his order to protect the St. Claire sisters, steadfastly rejects her every seducing lure.

Believing that the debutante Elizabeth deserves a better, wealthier man, Hamish continues to turn away from her affection, even though he doesn’t exactly want to. Can this Highlander Scot resist the tempting seductress’ attempts to win his heart?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sabrina York is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of more than twenty hot, humorous written works. Her stories range from sweet and sexy to scorching erotic romance. Visit her webpage to check out her books, excerpts and contests, and download a free teaser book filled with excerpts and reviews for her work.

BUY IT HERE! 

http://smpromance.com/historical/the-highlander-is-all-that/

EXCERPT

51muLUDvxqL._SY346_Ach. This was going to be difficult, Hamish thought as the disgruntled butler and young footman—who carried their bags—led them up the sprawling staircase to their rooms, which, for some reason, were at the far end of the east wing, a portion of the mansion that was apparently very rarely used.

And by difficult, he did not refer to the mission the duke had given them. Not even to an unwanted visit to London.

But her.

He hadn’t expected to be this attracted to one of his charges, and it had hit him like an anvil.

It had been all he could do to maintain a placid demeanor. To not stare.

But damn, she was beautiful.

They all were, the St. Claire sisters. Anne was tall and willowy with serene brown eyes, and Victoria sparkled like a diamond. Even wee Mary was a beauty.

But Elizabeth?

She took his breath away.

Small and elegant with a spritely smile and bouncing black curls, she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever laid eyes on.

It was a damn shame he was here to help find her a husband.

It was a damn shame she was the duke’s cousin.

It was a damn shame he wasn’t rich.

He had nothing to offer a girl like her. He had no business even thinking about her like that.

But damn, she was beautiful.

“Well, what do you think?” Ranald asked after the butler had unceremoniously shown them to their rooms. They stood by his window and stared out at the gray London sky.

“Hmm?”

“How long do you think it will be before we can go back home?”

Hamish made a face. “The season is three months.”

“But if we get them all married off, our work is done. I say, having had a look at them, it shouldna take long.” He fingered the hem of the curtain. “That one is quite a stunner.”

Something in Hamish’s gut clenched. He had nothing to offer Elizabeth, but Ranald did. His friend had a title and the majority share in the business they ran with some of their friends. While the duke might balk at having Hamish wed his cousin, Ranald would be welcomed with open arms.

The thought made him want to pummel something.

Probably Ranald.

“They’re all lovely,” he grumbled.

“Aye. But Anne is exquisite.”

Anne?

Anne?

Relief gushed through him. He had no idea why. “Och. Aye. That she is.”

“Of course, they are all verra lovely.”

“Aye.”

“We’ll probably have to be beating off suitors with a bat.”

They grinned at each other. Whacking Englishmen was always a pleasant proposition.