Bookit Review: Falling for The Highlander

Title: Falling for the Highlander (Book #4 in the Highlander series)
Author: Lynsay Sands
Publication Date: January 2017
My grade: C

I found this book to be a bit underwhelming.  It over all had the best potential for the background mystery, but it failed to really go there.  I understand it’s a romance novel, but I was actually disappointed by the amount of time spent on the romance versus the plot.  Maybe it was because the main characters, Murine and Dougall are not really compelling characters in this book.  They were actually more interesting as secondary characters in the previous books.

I’m wondering why this series, unlike the Argeneau series, has failed to really grab me.  I enjoy the books, but I don’t find them particularly worth talking about.  I can recommend as a light read for a day you don’t want anything too heavy.  It has a happy ending, too, which I appreciate right now.  But it’s not something I can say “Oh, you must read this!” like some of Sands’ other books.

THe basic premise of the novel is that Murine’s older half-brother tries to sell her off as a mistress to pay to keep his image as a country gentlemen by having a horse.  Dougall, the older brother of Saidh, is disgusted by the offer and leaves.  Murine, unwilling to stay after that happens takes off on a cow to see if she could make it to one of her friends homes and find a way out of her brother’s care.  She runs into Dougall and his brothers, who decide to help her to Scotland.  On the way there, the brothers all claim they will marry her, which Dougall finds annoying as he has started to be interested in her.

There is alot of time spent on Dougall trying his best not to be her lover till they are married and on Murine’s fainting problems.  I don’t particularly feel that Dougall’s interest in Murine really develops much.  It has one of those “Oh, it must be love because we are nearing the end of the book” type of realizations.  I’m hoping that the next book, which takes on the last lady from book #2, Edith and another Buchanan named Niels.

Previous in the series:

An English Bride in Scotland

To Marry A Scottish Laird

A Highlander takes a Bride

Advertisements

Bookit Review: A Highlander Takes a Bride

Title: A Highlander takes a Bride (book 3 in the Highlander series)
Author: Lynsay Sands
Publication Date:
Grade: B-

This book was a harder read for me then the last two.  Mostly because I had to keep looking up terms I was unfamiliar with, like Applemoyse (An apple dessert) and tincture (a medication dissolvable in alcohol apparently). There were also a few names I had to google for pronunciation. This is medieval Scotland, so its well before the unification of Britain.  However, they keep it quite vague as to who is King of Scotland, or England.   Just that they exist.  So the exact time period is a little vague.

In this book, we follow Joan’s new friend Siadh, who after visiting Joan while she gave birth to her son Bearnard, goes to visit a cousin named Fenalla, who has lost her fourth husband in suspicious circumstances.  Saidh isn’t sure what to think as her cousin did in fact kill her first husband.  And the book keeps you guessing if the woman had in fact killed her husband, or if it was someone else.  Someone who is now after Saidh.  The result of that mystery is actually quite surprising when you get to it.

The romance end of it is Saidh catches the eye of Greer MacDonnell.  He’s the new Laird, having inherited the position after his cousin Allen’s death.  He immediately is fascinated with her, and she with him.  It’s not long before he decides they should be married (abit more because he wants to have sex with her but she’s a noble lady so no sex till the ring is on).  Which introduces us to the vast amount of brothers Saidh has, all who play a role with the story, and the next two according to the summaries.  I found the brothers, and Alpin who is Greer’s squire, to be interesting.  The romance was bit quick in my mind, but considering it is a romance novel, and you only have so many pages to develop a relationship and solve a mystery its understandable.

I did think the injuries were a bit much, especially when they seem to switch from major to something minor later on. In one scene Saidh is hit with an arrow through her upper chest that ends up being pushed through to the other side, but within a day or so seems to be alright to carry around the castle and have a love scene with her husband.  Alpin’s illness is never really explained, only that he is ill, but I suppose his minor character status would allow for that. And I have to feel sorry for Milly, who gets used by Greer pretty much (and apparently turns into a bitter person for it in the next book when she’s mentioned.)

Still not a bad read, so I gave it an C+  Great characters, but I feel it was bit too much about the sex that it took away some of plot.

Bookit Review: To Marry a Scottish Laird

Title: To Marry a Scottish Laird  (Second in Highlander series)
Author: Lynsay Sands
Publication Date: June 2014
Grade: A-

In this book, we take a different path than most romance serials.  Usually the main character of the next book is a character mentioned in the first (An English Bride in Scotland), perhaps a friend of the main character or a sibling.  In this case, the main characters are Joan and Campbell, neither of which appear in the first book.  However, that is not to say it is not connected.  Annabel, her husband Ross and their three children appear in this story.  Campbell, for one, is a Sinclair, which happens to be the neighboring family. He comes across Joan, dressed as a boy (which fools him for a day or two) trying to make her way from England to the MacKay family with a message from her mother.  They fall in lust with each other, and maybe a little in love as they travel to the MacKay Keep.

Once there, Joan finds out she is the daughter of Annabel’s sister Kate, and her stable boy husband Grant.  The woman she thought was her mother was a midwife who delivered her, and then adopted her after Kate’s death.  Once again we are reminded on how horrible the Abbess and Annabel’s parents were in this novel as neither agree to look in on the now orphan.  However, the midwife Maggie does, and raises her as her own. SHe never tells Joan the truth about her parentage during her lifetime, instead sends her on a deathbed request to take a letter exposing the information to Annabel Mackay.

The second part of the book holds the mystery, as someone is trying to kill Joan to get her out-of-the-way.  She and Cam have to figure out which of the brides Cam’s mother had been preparing to suggest to him prior to his elopement with Joan is the culprit.  We are introduced to 3 ladies who will take on the roles of the next 3 books  and a few others.  I have to admit, this book was good at keeping you guessing at who it was.

This book was a nice easy day read, and I think a bit better than the first as she now seems to get into the new universe she’s created.  You don’t have to read the first book to read this one, though it would help for the back story about Kate & Grant, Joan’s biological parents, as well as the horrible grandparents.

Bookit Review: An English Bride in Scotland

Title: An English Bride in Scotland (Part 1 of the “Annabel” Highland series – Series title my own creation)
Author: Lynsay Sands
Publication Date: June 2013  (Kindle Edition)
Grade: A-

I should start this out by saying I’m a huge fan of Lynsay Sands, so reading this was no hardship.  My sister had read them and suggested that I start to read her historical novels set in Scotland since both of us have been huge fans of her Argeneau series for years.  (possibly even more than a decade now, )  So I bought the book on my Kindle and settled down to read.

This book is not one of her best, but it was still enjoyable.  The issue is mainly that there are so many straight-out unlikable characters that you spend most of your time not really invested in the romance but just feeling sorry for the main character, Annabel.  The book starts out with Annabel as a novice awaiting to take her vows as a nun.  She is stunned however when her mother, who had basically shoved her away in the convent when she was quite small, shows up to tell her she’s coming home.  It appears Annabel’s older sister, Kate, has run off with the stable boy and now they must have their only other daughter fulfil a marriage contract with a Scottish Laird.  So Annabel remains quite baffled as she goes from one abusive home (I don’t understand how this Mother Superior managed to make it to being a nun) to another (her parents perpetually comment on how she is not what they wanted, ugly, fat etc.  NOt like her sister, so her to be husband might just run).  So the first couple chapters is just wishing Annabel could just get to somewhere where people won’t pick on her.

And she does, as Ross MacKay’s home in Scotland is full of interesting characters who really want the best for Annabel.  However, things seem to follow Annabel around.  She is attacked by a mysterious man in a kilt several times, and then her sister arrives hoping Annabel will take her in, having been abandoned by her stable boy.  Or so she says.  Annabel isn’t sure what to believe.

This wasn’t a terrible read, but I really didn’t feel any connection with the characters other than sympathy for Annabel, and later Grant, Kate’s Scottish husband. The minor characters were interesting, and since this series has four more books at least (well, 3 with one coming in January), I hope to see a few of them again. It was just the pacing and depth of character that I expect from Lynsay Sands wasn’t completely there with this novel.

I gave the book a A- because as I said she’s a favorite author of mine, the book was enjoyable though not great, and I didn’t find anything that particularly annoyed me or made me want to throw the book out the window.

Bookit Review: A Perpetual Estrangement

Title: A Perpetual Estrangement
Author: Alice B. Ryder
Publication Date: November 2016
My Grade: C

I’m once again am reading Jane Austin adaptations.  I really enjoy the ones based on Persuasion, which is my favorite of her novels.  This particular novel takes place in Modern England.  Anne Elliot is still Anne, but this time she’s moved away from her family.  She owns a bookshop she bought with her mother’s inheritance, and hangs out a lot with her mother’s side of the family (which takes place of the Musgroves.) She is estranged from her father and sister Roberta, which only gets worse as the book continues.

Frederick is replaced with Freddie, a young writer instead of soldier.  Roberta and Anne’s father talk Anne out of going on a world trip with him and they end up breaking up.  She regrets it, he’s trying to show he’s moved on, just like their literary counterparts.

I enjoyed this book to a point.  At times it seemed to drag on, and some of the related points seemed mixed up which isn’t too much of a problem.   The main problem seems to be that there isn’t much for me to say about it.  It’s not bad, but it’s not spectacular either.  The Author makes a point of reminding you throughout the book that this is a reimagined story, not just another modern version of the same story.  Some of the elements remain the same, but others have changed completely.  The book Persuasion (and other Jane Austen novels) are mentioned through out.

I think my problem was mostly I found it hard to connect with some of the characters.  Anne’s story has perhaps a bit too much sorrow.  The version of Cousin Elliot is a bit too far away from the original.  Most of his motivations are stripped away, and he’s after her Uncle who’s a literary agent. There are also a few scenes with Jane whose age I couldn’t really figure out.  She seems like she’s in her preteens but at the same time seems to be referred to as much younger. Freddie and Anne’s relationship is strained, like the original, but it seems the sudden Happily Ever After is, well, Sudden.  There isn’t so much the anticipation that he’s changed his mind.  Most of the time you are as confused as Anne as to what is going on.

Still, it was enjoyable and I wouldn’t avoid it.  If someone asked me if it was worth reading, I would say sure.  it’s a good rainy day read.  If you like Austen, this story is enjoyable if a bit awkward in parts.  I wouldn’t put it on my greatest reads list, but its alright.

~*~

Bookit Review: The Truth About Leo

Title: The Truth about Leo
Author: Katie MacAlister
Publication Date:  August 2014 (Kindle Edition)
Grade: C

There are times I come across books and I feel like either the Author was told they needed to write the book, or they rushed it.  This is one of those times.  The main characters seem interesting, but we learn hardly anything about them.  The minor characters for the most part are characters from the other books, which is nice.  I found it readable, but perhaps not one I would feel like I missed out on something by not reading it.

The main characters of this novel, the fourth in the Noble series, are Leo Mortimer and Dagmar Sophie.  She’s an impoverished princess whose cousin is the Prince regent of Denmark.  Prince Frederick (actual person in history) is tired of taking care of his cousin (and Dagmar is, from the accounts of her mother, a thorn in Frederick’s side) and tells her to find her way to family, or she will be sent to a French Convent. Instead she marries a wounded soldier, Leo Mortimer, and gets transportation to England where she plans to go into business as a shop owner.

Most of the book deals with the two in almost a honeymoon like phase.  They get over their respective issues with what happened rather quickly.  Some of the books conversations are a little hard to follow because there are so many people in them, and some are even multiple conversations occurring at the same.

It does have its moments, though.  MacAlister has a knack for funny dialogue and banter.  I just find this novel to not be one of her best.

Also the B plot mystery about Dalton’s nephew is missing quite a few pieces.  I feel like there is two stories, trying to fit into one book and failing to do so.

 

Bookit Review: The Trouble with Harry

Title: The Trouble with Harry
Author: Katie MacAlister
Publication Date: May 2004/ July 2014 (Kindle Edition)
Grade:  B

This book is the third in the series that started with Noble Intentions, but they seemed to have dropped the ‘Noble’ title theme and gone with something a little different.  This takes place about 15ish years after the first novel.  Harry has long since married the woman he was engaged to in that book, and they have had five kids.  Sadly his wife died shortly after the birth of their youngest son, McTavish.  Five years after her death, he feels its time to find a wife, someone who can be both companion to him and help reign in his unruly children.

Answering his ad is Plum, a gentlewoman who ended up thrown out by her family because she was tricked into marrying a man who was already married.  She’s been living in the country, raising her niece Thom and writing books on ‘connubial calisthenics.’  She doesn’t tell Harry this, and Harry doesn’t tell her about the five kids till they are already married.

Like the previous books, the first third of the book is getting to the wedding, but the second 2 thirds is their life afterwards as they figure out each other, as well as handle the ‘mystery’ that they have to solve.  In this case, someone has been after Harry’s children, in an attempt to hurt Harry.

I found this book to be enjoyable, but not one I will probably find myself eager to read again.  I probably will one day, when I’m passing by it in my library and think”Oh, why not.”  It just doesn’t hold like some of MacAlister’s other books.  Also like the other ones I enjoyed the secondary characters even more so then the main two.  Harry is still one of my favorites, although I wish more could have been focused on what he did as a spy for England.

The Britons show up in this one in the form of Noble and Nick.  Nick and Thom’s interactions are almost more interesting than the main character, and I wish she had used them for the fourth book.  (Which I shall move onto now.)