‘Highland Fire’ by Tanya Anne Crosby

HF TACSTORY: Scotland, 1125, the Legend Begins…

For two centuries, Aidan dún Scoti’s kinsmen have guarded Scotland’s greatest secret, awaiting a worthy successor to arise and unite the Highland clans. His people are the last of the “Painted Ones,” the guardians of the true Stone of Destiny.

A Struggle for Power

The Highland tribes are fractured. Scotland’s King David seeks an alliance with the fierce mountain Scot. But only one woman will tempt Aidan dún Scoti—the accursed beauty whose father once betrayed his clan…

Tempted by Revenge

Cursed by Aidan’s people for the sins of her father, Lìleas MacLaren is the one woman he believes he is immune to. Offered in marriage by David of Scotland as a guise for peace, she is also the one woman who may bring the fierce chieftain to his knees.

Rich with history and lore, HIGHLAND FIRE brings back favorite characters from The Highland Brides and introduces you to new ones.

REVIEW: Tanya has done it again!

Scotland 1125

Aiden dun Scoti, a fierce Highlander whom the true blood of kings run through, a protector of a sacred stone, a leader of the last painted ones of old.

Lileas MacLaren, a woman who was cursed as a child for the sins of her father, sent on a mission against her wishes with her son’s life held over her to force her coöperation. This woman has spunk and continuously left me with a smile.

These two find themselves confused by their feelings. Attraction and distrust rage equally side by side. Their journey is smack full of treachery and longing that ultimately leaves them running basically on faith and what their hearts tell them is true.

I love the people introduced, Aiden’s sisters and brother. Lael, especially. This woman is a handful, a master with blades and she carries a temper that when angered even scares Aiden. Una, the woman who sent down the curse upon Lili, a wise woman and healer of the clan as old as time itself. A favorite of mine, Broc from Lion Heart, makes an appearance also which brought happiness to my heart.

Curses, secrets, myths, danger, sadness, laughter and a love that will squeeze your heart. The rugged highlands, with the magic in the mists and where the old ways hold strong, written in a way that will have you feeling and hearing the story instead of reading it. I am going to have a hard time finding the patience to await the next in the series.

*Leah for b2b.

*Book provided by the author.

Leah’s 2013 choices for…

Five Star Reads are:

XMTS VRI know we all have our favorite genres and our favorite authors. As for me, I read all types of historical books. Even a few contemporaries.

I had many 4 – 4 1/2 star reviews this year but I thought I’d post about my 5 star reads and you will see by my list just where my heart lies when it comes to genres, which doesn’t mean that I won’t give high marks to contemporary novels.

I gave a very high 4 1/2 to ‘Spin’ by Bella Love.  I am hooked! You can check out my review here.

Now, back to my FIVE STAR reads and so, here we go….

Julianne Lee and her Tenebrae series

‘Knight Tenebrae’, ‘Knight’s Blood’ and ‘Knight’s Lady’.

“Trapped in a place not their own, two strangers find the only thing they can count on is one another”.

Follow Alex and Lindsay as they travel back through time to 14th century Scotland. All three books take you on their journey. I was simply full of emotion throughout all three books. Read Mel’s reviews for the series here.

Sue-Ellen Welfonder and her Highland Warriors series

 ‘Sins Of a Highland Devil’, ‘Temptation of a Highland Scoundrel’ and ‘Seduction of a Highland Warrior’, along with SOTC PBthe novella, ‘Once Upon a Highland Christmas’.

I can tell you that Sue-Ellen brings medieval Scotland to life for me every time I go into one of her stories. They are full of humor, mystery, highland magic, warfare, and love. All are filled with history bits that will keep all history buffs happy. You can read my reviews for the series here, here & here, with Melanie’s review for the novella here,

Monica McCarty and ‘The Hawk’

It is part of the Highland Guard series and I highly recommend it. They all received high marks from me but Eric “Hawk” MacSorely stood out above the rest. She is another auto-buy for me. You can read my review here.

Diane Darcy and ‘She Owns The Knight’

I can’t express enough how much I enjoyed this book! I am sitting here smiling from ear to ear as I write this. If you love 13th century England, laughing, and watching as two people learn what love is all about, this story is a must buy! You can read my review here.

Victoria Roberts and ‘X Marks The Scot’

TH MMcCThis is #2 in the Bad Boys of the Highlands series and I waited patiently for Declan and his story and was so excited when I finally got it in my hands.

I knew there was a wonderful man behind the rogue. Laidain is just the woman for him too, one who won’t let him hide behind his blether, and one who is strong enough to stand her ground with him and everyone else for that matter.

This story is packed with treason, danger it seems around every turn, secrets discovered that condemns some and saves another, and laughter…..tons of laughter!

Patricia Bracewell and ‘Shadow on the Crown

Loved this story! From the history to the direction Patricia took this story in, her writing had hooked me in!

I felt for Emma as she accepted her lot in life and smiled when she stood for herself when needed. King Aethelred was constantly suspicious of everyone and because of his guilt, found himself tortured by visits from his murdered brother’s ghostly shadow. He also blatantly carried on with Elgiva, his mistress. I enjoyed the way Ms. Bracewell took the story line with Athelstan, the King’s son and his relationship with Emma. Through her words she brought OUAHC SEWcharacters into my life to love and hate, and added with the history, this became one of my most favorite reads this year. I cannot wait for the next on this series to see what she brings us next!

Kris Kennedy and ‘The Conqueror’

This author’s words move me. Period. I feel a deep connection while reading her work and urge you to give her a try if you haven’t yet. You can read my review here.

Margaret Mallory and ‘The Chieftain’

This is book 4 in the Return of the Highlanders series.

From beginning to end she had me captured in their world. My heart-felt warmth as I read the epilogue. I enjoyed watching their love come to fruition and talk about HOT!! I loved the mystical parts of this story. Tearlag and Ilysa and their sight, the fairy glens and the chants… ghostly sightings and the legends surrounding them all call to my heart. Scotland is full of lore and Margaret Mallory does an TIW KKexcellent job of bringing it to life.

She left me aching to walk the fairy glens, graveyards, and hills with standing stones. You can read Melanie’s review here.

Tanya Anne Crosby and her Highland Brides series. 

‘The MacKinnon’s Bride’, ‘Lyon’s Gift’, ‘On Bended Knee’ and ‘Lion Heart’ were re-reads for me that kept calling for me to pull out. Screamed at me actually. ‘Highland Song’ is a new addition to the series and stole my heart just as swiftly as the others did.

I found Tanya when I started reading 20 years ago and she was instantly catapulted to the top of my favorites list.

To me, her writing pulls at my heart and wraps me solidly within its pages.

You can read my reviews for the series herehereherehere, and here. You can now get the first 4 in the series in a boxed set…Cheaper that way, only $9.99!

So, there you have it! The stories that hit 5 stars for me this year and in no particular order. I would love to hear what everyone else read this year that received a 5 star rating. Feel free to share with us and give us your recommendations.

Now, I’m looking forward to seeing what 2014 brings into my reading world.

*Leah for b2b

‘Highland Song’ by Tanya Anne Crosby

HS TACSTORY: Gavin Mac Brodie fears the thought of becoming the man his father was. Driven into solitude by visions of what he would not be and could not have, he vows never to wed. But this last of the available Brodie men is about to encounter a wee bit of Highland magic…

Catrìona is no stranger to solitude. Driven deep into the Highland mountains, her kinsmen have become little more than legend. But no one knows better than Cat that you cannot hide from fate. Naked and painted in the woad of her ancestors, she appears to Gavin Mac Brodie …

But is she flesh and blood–a chance for a future–or just a faerie creature who will vanish if Gavin dares to open his heart?

REVIEW: Catriona is on the run from King David who has taken her captive as his pawn. He wants to wed her to an Englishman to get her brother Aiden, a northern rebel chieftain in line. They are the last of the painted ones who keep the old ways alive.

Gavin feels he’s lost his way as far as his faith is concerned. His brothers and sister have married and he is feeling the need to move to his own place. He is in the process of building when he comes upon Cat on his land. She’s ‘nekkid’ and painted in ‘woad’ and he is having a hard time deciding if she’s fey or real. All he knows is she makes him want to feel something he hasn’t wanted in forever. She will not share anything about herself. He can’t understand why he’s falling in love with this woman he knows nothing about. All he knows is that his faith has been restored through her.

King David, Gavin’s brothers, and Cat’s brother are coming from different directions, as they find them together. Arguments ensue and Gavin makes a stand. They will have to strike him down where he stands before he lets them take her. He claims her as his wife and King David realizes that to keep her would cause war so he leaves. She admits to her brother and Gavin’s brothers that she is indeed in love with him and they all accept it as so.

With this lovely novella and much-anticipated Gavin’s story, Tanya Anne Crosby ends her Highland Brides Series’ and I for one am very happy to see him get his lady love his own happy ending.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my week’s reviews of these books as much as I’ve enjoyed reading them. Please give this author a try. I can’t tell you how much joy her books have brought me. 
Leah for b2b

‘Lion’s Heart’ by Tanya Anne Crosby

LH TACSTORY: A passion Elizabet has never known — and the freedom she so fervently craves — waits in the arms of the proud, virile Scotsman who now holds her prisoner.

The illegitimate daughter of a penniless English baron, Elizabet is determined never to relinquish her cherished independence by becoming some man’s “property.” But when she is kidnapped by a rugged clansman in the Scottish highlands, her sensations are awakened as never before. Broc of the McKinnons is only interested in doing what is best for his clan, even if it means holding an enchanting, high-spirited Englishwoman hostage in order to avert a feud. But his growing passion for the exquisitely kissable Elizabet could be his undoing. For keeping her poses a serious risk to Broc’s future, while letting her go poses an even greater risk to his heart.

REVIEW: Broc lost his family and clan to a massacre by the English when he was a child. He swore to never open his heart because it hurt too much to lose someone you love. His only commitment was to his clan that had taken him in when he lost his family.

Elizabet was born to a courtesan and when her mother dies, she goes to live with her father. Several years later her father remarried and his new wife wants Elizabet and her step brother gone, so they are sent to her father’s cousin Piers.

She is determined to never be bound to a man or be dependent upon them like her mother was; she doesn’t want children or a man. She’s content to have Harpy, a dog, as her constant companion.

One day as she’s looking for a runaway Harvey, Elizabet finds Broc with her him and assumes that he is trying to steal it, while the poor man is only trying to rescue it!

They get in a tit for tat argument. He thinks her a sassy shrew and she thinks him a ruthless barbarian. While they’re arguing he spies an Englishman in the woods with an arrow notched and he realizes it’s for her. He sees the man loose the arrow and he hurls himself on her, knocking her to the ground. They get up, he with a knife, and she starts screaming. Her brother John comes to rescue her only to be knocked out by Broc. He doesn’t understand why one of her own is trying to kill her so he pretends he is abducting her. He wants to keep her safe until he can figure out what’s going on. She doesn’t realize she is in danger.

When two deaths occur, the English try to blame Broc. He takes Elizabet off to a friend’s old home that’s no longer in use and tries to keep her safe while unraveling this mystery. They find themselves falling hard for each other but will a secret that Broc holds come between the love she has for him?

This story had me howling in laughter many times. The banter between Broc and Elizabet is top rate! One of the funniest parts is when he comes back to the cairn to find her gone and goes looking for her. Warrior woman, indeed! LOL! One of my favorite quotes is:

” Aye, well, simply because you are possessed of a proud cock does not mean you can leave it to crow in every barn!”

Tanya Anne Crosby never fails to move me with her words. This series has left its footprint on my heart and has brought some wonderful characters to life for me.

Leah for b2b

‘On Bended Knee’ by Tanya Anne crosby

OBK TACSTORY: In her dreams, a hearth and a husband… 

With hair shiny black as a moonless night and luscious green eyes as luminescent as a cat’s, Seana has been whispered to be a child of the brownies. But not even a little spritely magic can help her claim what she really wanted-a home and a marriage to a particular handsome clansman who is blind to her wiles. To win his attentions, she will have to strike a bargain with another man: a wickedly handsome rake. Yet, even knowing better than to trust this irrepressible charmer, she finds she is quickly falling under his spell.

In her heart, a rake and a rogue… 

Colin Mac Brodie has the tawny good looks and potent magnetism that leave women weak with anticipation. So when a mischievous beauty asks for his help to woo his best friend, Colin is intrigued. And though it is in his blood to dally with many, once Colin feels the pulse of true love he cannot bear to let another man have Seana. Now he is determines to kneel before this budding temptress who neither cares for nor trusts him–and convince her to be his. ..from this day forward.

REVIEW: Colin Mac Brodie broke Seana’s heart when they were but children. He shunned her because of her weak leg and threw a rock at her. Colin, because of issues he had with his father, finds himself very uncomfortable around anyone that’s anything less than perfection. Years later, she approaches Colin to ask for his aid in helping her woo Broc, Colin’s best friend. He doesn’t recognize her at all. He just knows this woman he is so attracted to, doesn’t seem to want to give him the time of day outside of the help she needs.

He’s finding himself struggling between wanting her for himself and wanting to do what’s right for her. All his life he’s been selfish and through her strength, courage, and love he’s finding himself wanting to give unconditionally.

There is another story going on involving Broc’s cousin, Cameron, and Cameron’s little sister, Constance. My heart was breaking by chapter 12. There is a kidnapping, deceit, two losses that tore at my heart, touches of magic that I believe truly exist in Scotland; laughter and hearts that open to love.

I enjoyed the fact that characters I came to love from the earlier books in this series play major rolls in this story. Tanya Anne Crosby masterfully weaves tales that will leave your heart full and a smile upon your face from the beginning of her tales straight to the end of them. If you love Medieval stories, you just have to read these books.

Leah for b2b

‘The MacKinnon’s Bride’ by Tanya Anne Crosby

TMB TACSTORY: Scotland 1118

Descended of the sons of MacAlpin, Iain MacKinnon refuses to bow to the English. When his young son is captured by a minion of the English king, the fierce Scottish chieftain vows to stop at nothing to secure the lad’s return. Retaliating in kind, he captures the daughter of his enemy, planning to bargain with the devil …

FitzSimon’s daughter has lived her entire life in the shadow of the man she called father–yet never would she have imagined he would forsake his only daughter. Even as Page blames her captor for welching on a contract with her father, she suspects the truth. But the shadows hold secrets … now only the love of her reluctant champion can save the MacKinnon’s Bride.

This book begins The Highland Brides series.

REVIEW: Scotland 1118

Laird Iain MacKinnon married Mairi MacLean hoping that the marriage and the birth of their son would bring the clans together after many years of feuding. No such luck as the lady despises him and says as much to him while he’s holding his son that thought of his touch again or bearing him more children, is the reason she chooses death by hurling herself out the castle window.

Balfour Castle, Northumbria 1124

Page FitzSimon had slipped out for a nightly swim and finds herself kidnapped by a group of Scots. No one would miss her because no one knew she was gone and actually no one would even care were they to know. Her father only wanted sons and she feels he despises her.

(She’s standing there after running from them barely covered, soaking wet)…

“She cast a glance at the others and found them all staring, mouths agape. Damnation, but she hoped their idiocy wasn’t contagious – they were all bloody halfwits! Every last one of them!

‘Catching glowworms perchance?’ she asked them. A ridiculous sight, the lot of them; their brows drew together in unison and they cast surprised glances at each other, then snapped their mouths shut.”

Iain’s son Malcom is taken and handed him over to the English [all in the name of David of Scotland], to be a ward in the English court and Iain plans to trade Page for his young son. There are rumors of Iain killing his wife and beating his son so when Iain goes to barter for the exchange, Page’s father hands over Malcom but tells him to keep Page. He doesn’t want her back. To keep from hurting her with this information, he tells Page that he isn’t going to give her back. That he’s keeping her. And so the story begins…..

Full of deception, betrayal, hope, acceptance, and love, this is a story that will wrap you within its pages and pull at your heart.

I read this book years ago and it called for me to pick it back up again. This entire series is one of my favorites. The next in the series are Lyon’s Gift, On Bended Knee, Lion Heart, and Highland Song and I’ll be reviewing them in that order this week. I hope you’ll decide to give them a try as I really liked them all a lot.

Leah for b2b

‘Heiress in Love’ by Christina Brooke

HIL CBSTORY: Jane, Lady Roxdale, has endured one marriage of convenience decreed by the Ministry of Marriage. While she deeply regrets her late husband’s death, she is relieved to be free at last. But when a dissolute rake threatens everything Jane holds dear, she must contemplate marrying a second time…

Disgraced libertine Constantine Black inherits his cousin Roxdale’s land and title—while Roxdale’s prim widow is left all the wealth. Constantine is not a marrying man, but wedding Jane is the only way to save the estate from ruin. Jane resists the smoldering heat between them, desperate not to fall in love with an unrepentant rake. But for the first time ever, Constantine wants more than seduction. He wants all of her—body, heart, and soul…

REVIEW: Lord Frederick Roxdale passes leaving behind Lady Jane Roxdale and his ward Luke, whom Lady Jane loves dearly.

Theirs was a marriage of convenience and an unhappy one because Frederick was a bitter man who treated Jane cruelly both verbally and mentally.

He had left Jane a large part of the estate’s money with the stipulation that Luke be brought up by the new Lord, and not her.

Lord Constantine Black, the new Lord Roxdale finds himself land rich but money poor as Frederick had made many foolish decisions about the estate, which leaves Constantine at odds about how to keep the estate afloat.

They both consider a marriage of convenience (her second) that would allow Jane to be with Luke, and Constantine to have the use of the monies left to Jane to keep up the estate, while their attraction to one another grows as they meet many problems of running the estate. 

I enjoyed reading Ms. Brooke’s novel. The way she wove the characters, their feelings and the estate “family” was extremely well written.

Connie Fischer for b2b