‘True to the Highlander’ by Barbara Longley

bl ttthSTORY: Treachery rules the Highlands of 1423. With their king captured by the English, Scottish nobles plot to ransom James behind the back of the brutal regent holding their land in his iron grip. But not every clan wishes to see King James back on his throne…

Sitting atop this powder keg of bloodthirsty rivalries, Malcolm of clan MacKintosh takes the mysterious, lone maiden he finds along his road as a bad omen…though an undeniably beautiful one. When he attempts to save her from a rogue within his own garrison, she deftly brings Malcolm to his knees. Who is this willful lass who has so quickly laid siege to his heart?

Alethia Goodsky has met all kinds working at the New York Renaissance Festival, but no one like the fortune-teller who tasks her with a cryptic life-saving mission and flings her into the fifteenth century. Now Alethia must rely on her wits to unravel the mystery in this violent land. Malcolm has sworn to protect her, but her gifts may soon make her his protector. With enemies closing in, Alethia must choose between finding a way home…and remaining true to her Highlander.

REVIEW: New York- Present Day

Alethia Goodsky has the gift of being able to read people…. knowing if they tell the truth or lie. She’s working at a Renaissance Festival and feels like the fortune-teller is always watching her. She always tries to give her a wide berth but one day finds herself walking past the tent and getting invited in. Madame Giselle gives her a pendant with a crane on it which takes her by surprise because her father’s people, the Anishinaabe, belong to the Crane clan. Another surprise is that the pendant was crafted long ago in Scotland. Her mother had Scottish ancestry. She had been a MacConnell. Giselle tells her she has deeper gifts than she realizes. Alethia had lost both her parents at a young age and her grandmother raised her. As she goes to leave the tent she finds herself flung into the past.

Northern Scotland – 1423

Malcolm MacKintosh is heading to his father with an important missive when he finds Alethia passed out cold on the ground. He and his men are wondering who she is and why she’s there, alone. They clearly think she’s highborn because of her clothing and jewelry. She comes to, he snatches her from the ground and puts her on his horse and refuses to go back for her bag which was a huge mistake. Malcolm cannot know why her belongings mean so much to her, especially her violin. She uses her self-defense tactics and presses on his neck putting him to sleep. She jumps from the horse and runs. He comes to and goes after her, finding one of the men who was with his group, a Hugh Fraser, circling her. He makes Hugh leave which angers Hugh. Malcolm thinks him a spy for the Red Comyn and knows him to be cruel, spiteful, and perverse. They’ve made an enemy.

These two…. they keep me laughing! Alethia is a spitfire. Malcolm is entranced by her and loves her spunk even though at times he surely could find himself pulling his hair out. She wins the love of his people and her sight will save his clan. Their way will be full of deadly threats but the love they share will see them through.

This is the first book I’ve read by Barbara Longley and as soon as I finished reading this I bought HEART OF THE DRUID LAIRD. I find myself anxious for book 2 in the Loch Moigh series, THE HIGHLANDER’S BARGAIN.

*Leah for b2b

*Book provided by the publisher through NetGalley

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

‘She Owns the Knight’ by Diane Darcy

SOTK DDSTORY: Why does she have to travel seven hundred years through time to find a decent guy?

Brokenhearted Gillian Corbett finally finds the knight of her dreams…in the past. Unfortunately he’s bossy, overbearing, and…betrothed! Fortunately, he thinks she is his affianced, which keeps her from garderobe duty. Or worse, being hanged as a spy. She knows she has to get back to her own time before his real fiancé shows up and the truth is discovered, but until she finds a way, she’s going to squeeze every bit of enjoyment she can out of this situation. As far as she’s concerned, this is one relationship in which she gets to call the shots, not the other way around. The dowry provided by his betrothed bought him, lock, stock, and barrel. She’ll gladly whip him into shape for the girl who ends up with him. No thanks required. In the meantime, Gillian owns him, and as every twenty-first century girl knows…ownership has its privileges.

Why can’t he find a lady who is obedient, submissive…or at least not trying to kill him?

After a horrible first marriage that ended badly, Sir Kellen Marshall is determined to protect what is left of his dreams. He needs an heir, an alliance, and a chaste bride who has never loved another. Would that he’d been choosier in his specifications because what he’s ended up with is a loud, bossy, demanding female who will drive him daft at every opportunity. So why does he feel he’d like to lay the world at her feet if she’d simply give him the chance?

When modern meets medieval, can there be a happily ever after?

REVIEW: This story had me rolling in laughter! Hard belly laughs!

England 1260: Lord Kellen Marshall was married to a Corbett. His wife tried to poison him but she drinks the poison instead. Before she dies, she admits to despising him, to having a lover who fathered their daughter and the babe she carries.

After she dies, he knows that he could never trust another woman again, yet still demands of her father to send him another daughter to wed and if he fails, threatens war. 

England, present day: Gillian Corbett has broken her engagement and is spending her would be honeymoon searching for her genealogy in England. As she sits drawing a castle ruin and graveyard she is set upon by four young men. One tries to steal a gold ring her father gave her and as she’s running from them she falls into oblivion …

England 1260:… and finds herself set upon by four men on horseback wearing medieval clothing. 

Kellen and his men see what’s going on and ride out to investigate. Seeing the ring on her hand, which looks to be a Corbett seal, he takes her to be his intended and takes her back to the castle.

Gillian can’t believe what she’s seeing or where she’s at and thinks she’s either dreaming or badly hurt by the original guys trying to attack her and maybe she’s been knocked unconscious.

Kellen has a midwife check her to make sure she’s a virgin and she was screaming and cussing like a sailor at the women holding her down as our hero and his men have their mouths open while below listening to her ranting.

“Has the girl been raised in the barracks with the foulest of knights?” one of the knights asks.

As they go through her backpack they are amazed at the odd items they find in it. Her passport picture has them astounded. I was howling in laughter reading about them trying to figure out what the objects are. They think the zipper on her shorts is a chastity belt!

“She no longer had any doubt that she was wide awake. This wasn’t a dream, and she wasn’t in a coma. There was nothing like a good gynecological exam to snap a girl out of a delusion.”

I urge you to pick this book up and follow these two and their friends on their journey to love. I laughed and I cried. I wanted so badly to blink myself there with them. One of my favorite reads this year!

Leah for b2b

Sam Heughan IS James Fraser!

Sam-Heughan-Jamie-Fraser[1]

YES! It’s true! We have us a flesh and blood James Fraser in Sam Heughan!

This just in from DG’s FB page:

“I am UTTERLY delighted to be able to tell you that Sam Heughan is officially _confirmed_ as Jamie Fraser, for the new Starz cable-TV series!

Official press release/photo will be along shortly, I’m told. Meanwhile, I asked Sam how to pronounce his last name–just for starters <g>, to which he replied:

“HEW-an is good or if you can, insert the Scottish throat clearing/spitting sound in the middle… HewCH-an.
Hard to get right first time without spraying close friends with saliva.”

(For those of you wondering whether he can say “Sassenach” properly…)”

First time I saw him was last year in a Christmas Hallmark Movie playing Prince Ashton in “A Princess for Christmas” and he was just too cute!

Here’s what’s out there about him….

Sam Heughan is a graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, he was a 2003 nominee for the Laurence Olivier Award for Most Promising Performance for his work in the program. Last year, he originated the role of Batman in the DC/Warner Brothers and Waterlane production of “Batman Live,” an international tour which opened at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles and went on to tour in South America and throughout Europe.

In 2010, he was nominated for a British Soap Award for “Villain of the Year” for his role as Scott Neilson in the BBC soap opera “Doctors.” He has also had roles in a range of television series including, “River City,” “Island at War,” “The Wild West,” “Midsomer Murders,” and, most recently, “Any Human Heart” as Lieutenant McStay. His TV movie credits include, “Breaking the Mould” for BBC Television, “A Very British Sex Scandal” for Channel 4 and “First Light” for BBC2.

He was nominated for a “Grace award” for his performance as Prince Ashton, the son of Sir Roger Moore, in “A Princess for Christmas” for Hallmark Channel. His film credits include the short film Small Moments, and the feature films Alexander the Great from Macedonia and Emulsion. He will also be seen in the upcoming film Heart of Lightness. On stage, Heughan has performed at a variety of theatres in such productions as “King John,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Vortex,” “Hamlet,” “Macbeth,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and more. At the Royal Scottish Academy, Heughan starred in productions including “Crime & Punishment,” “The Seagull,” and “Prometheus Bound.” He is repped by United Talent Agency in the US and United Agents in the UK.

Here’s more about the production of the series [this WILL be a series and not a pilot, not a mini-series! 16 Episodes for the first season, which means a book per season! just imagine! we have 7 books so far and the 8th is on its way next year! it's up to us to make sure it's picked up for season 2, 3...and so forth!]

O DG

“The series adaptation for “Outlander” will be written by Ronald D. Moore (“Battlestar Galactica,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation”). Ronald D. Moore and Jim Kohlberg are executive producers of “Outlander,” which is produced by Tall Ship Productions, Story Mining & Supply Company and Left Bank Pictures in association with Sony Pictures Television. The series will begin filming in Scotland this fall.”

When the author Diana Gabaldon is quoted as saying:

“Oh. My. God. That man is a Scot to the bone and Jamie Fraser to the heart. Having seen Sam Heughan not just act, but be Jamie, I feel immensely grateful to the production team for their painstaking attention to the soul of the story and characters.”

- then by God he is!

And here is an excerpt from OUTLANDER, just to remind you how good these two are, as if you can forget it, right?!

“Because I wanted you.” He turned from the window to face me. “More than I ever wanted anything in my life,” he added softly. I continued staring at him, dumbstruck. Whatever I had been expecting, it wasn’t this. Seeing my open mouthed expression, he continued lightly.

“When I asked my da how ye knew which was the right woman, he told me when the time came, I’d have no doubt. And I didn’t. When I woke in the dark under that tree on the road to Leoch, with you sitting on my chest, cursing me for bleeding to death, I said to myself, ‘Jamie Fraser, for all ye canna see what she looks like, and for all she weighs as much as a good draft horse, this is the woman’”

I started toward him, and he backed away, talking rapidly. “I said to myself, ‘She’s mended ye twice in as many hours, me lad; life… amongst the MacKenzies being what it is, it might be as well to wed a woman as can stanch a wound and set broken bones.’ And I said to myself, ‘Jamie, lad, if her touch feels so bonny on your collarbone, imagine what it might feel like lower down…’”

He dodged around a chair. “Of course, I thought it might ha’ just been the effects of spending four months in a monastery, without benefit of female companionship, but then that ride through the dark together”–he paused to sigh theatrically, neatly evading my grab at his sleeve–”with that lovely broad arse wedged between my thighs”–he ducked a blow aimed at his left ear and sidestepped, getting a low table between us–”and that rock-solid head thumping me in the chest”–a small metal ornament bounced off his own head and went clanging to the floor–”I said to myself…”

He was laughing so hard at this point that he had to gasp for breath between phrases. ”Jamie…I said…for all she’s a Sassenach bitch…with a tongue like an adder’s …with a bum like that…what does it matter if she’s a f-face like a sh-sh-eep?” I tripped him neatly and landed on his stomach with both knees as he hit the floor with a crash that shook the house.

”You mean to tell me that you married me out of love?” I demanded. He raised his eyebrows, struggling to draw in breath. “Have I not…just been…saying so?”

So, all you Outlander fans, spread the news! We need to show Sam and Diana our support! We are over 20 million strong and growing!

Sam’s Tweeter is: https://twitter.com/Heughan =  #JamieFraser ‎#Outlander

Here are places you can show support to Diana Gabaldon / Website / Facebook / Tweeter

If you’ve never read any of her books, then it’s time you start! You can get them on Amazon or a book store near you.

*gotta give credit for the above picture to The Good, The Bad and the Unread Blog. I’m not sure where they got it, but boy it IS perfect!

Spotlight on Julianne Lee and…

TENEBRAE SERIES

Knight Tenebrae/Chapter One

KT JL ebookBOOK BLURB: It begins when an American fighter jet is discovered submerged in Scotland’s Firth of Clyde. Clearly it has been there for centuries. Clearly, that is impossible.

British reporter Lindsay Pawlowski is sent to cover the story. But Alex MacNeil, the arrogant American pilot she interviews, dismisses it—and her—out of hand.

Then MacNeil’s jet, with Lindsay aboard, crashes into the water after passing through a fiery vortex that appears out of nowhere. Lindsay and Alex bail and parachute to the ground as the plane goes under—and they encounter a group of mounted men, wearing armor, bearing swords.

To stay alive, Alex and Lindsay must tread carefully; the Scotland of Robert the Bruce is a dangerous place, particularly for a woman alone. So Lindsay plays squire to Alex’s knight as they slowly adjust to their fate.

But they come to realize that they have far more to worry about than their daily survival in a brutal past. They have a powerful enemy, an inhuman enemy. He caused the vortex, he hates them—and all of mankind—and he plans to use their growing love for one another to destroy them…

EXCERPT: here.

KT JLMINI REVIEW: I actually won these on LibraryThing.com and the only reason I wanted to read them was because of how much I loved the movie TIMELINE with Gerard Butler.

Now, that movie got only 2 1/2 Stars and that’s really bad because I really, really liked it. It’s not a masterpiece and it’s not meant to be. It’s a cute little story, well acted and filled with action. It did what aimed to do, and that’s entertain a certain audience.

This novel did exactly the same. I enjoyed the mix of contemporary, historical and fantasy aspect of it. I also thought the relationship between Alex and Lindsay was interesting, fun and well written. Alex was one of those heroes you’ll really like a lot, and Lindsay in the end turned out to be strong and courageous woman who helped Alex to adept to their new surroundings and a life neither really ever expected to share.

And let’s not forget the plot’s twists and turns as well as great action.

If you like time travel romance and you loved BRAVEHEART, Scotland and its history, I’m pretty sure you’ll like this book.

Knight’s Blood/Chapter Two

KB JL ebookBOOK BLURB: U.S. Navy Pilot Lieutenant Alex MacNeil and his wife Lindsay have returned from their adventure in fourteenth century Scotland—and Lindsay has given birth to a son. But the magic realm is not through with them yet…

The MacNeils’ child has been kidnapped—presumably by Nemed, the elfin king and the couple’s sworn enemy—and brought back into the past. Feeling responsible, Lindsay ventures to medieval Scotland on her own, in pursuit of Nemed. Once again in the guise of Sir Lindsay Pawlowski, she joins a company of rogue knights, led by a man who calls himself “An Reubair.”

It isn’t long before her true identity is discovered, but Lindsay proves her worth among the bandits. As time passes, she finds herself drawn to their lifestyle—and to Reubair—and is torn between reuniting with her family and embracing her warrior’s life.

And soon she will confront Alex, who has also returned to Scotland and resumed his place as laird. And her son, now a fully grown man and resentful of his parents’ abandonment…

EXCERPT: here.

KB JLMINI REVIEW: Julianne Lee continues the adventure of Alex and Lindsey in the second book, Knight’s Blood and gives it a twist that I honestly haven’t seen coming.

This book might even have more action than the first, if that’s possible and I frankly liked it a lot.

She also adds a bit more fantasy in this one, and it made the story a bit more sinister, which is a good thing.

What made me sad was the relationship between all the main characters as they tried to come to terms with their past, especially Lindsey.

Alex, this time around, looked like he handled the situations a bit better than before.

Like the earlier book, this will appeal to all time travel and medieval romance fans.

Knight’s Lady/The Final Chapter

KL JL ebookBOOK BLURB: U.S. Navy pilot Alex MacNeil and his wife, Lindsay, are stranded in fourteenth-century Scotland, brought there by magic and held by bonds of loyalty to Robert the Bruce. But their own bond of love is about to be tested as never before…

The MacNeils are making the best of their new life in the Highlands when a surprise attack throws them into chaos once more. Alex is badly wounded in the fighting, and Lindsay is taken to the Knight An Reubair’s hidden stronghold in the faerie lands of Ireland – for the rogue warrior has long desired to make Lindsay his wife… Lindsay knows she can use her love of Alex as a shield against the seductive powers of An Reubair. But his magical enticements slowly melt her will, forcing Lindsay to fight her own battle for the man she loves and the future that is slipping away from them both…

EXCERPT: here.

KL JLMINI REVIEW: In this last chapter [REALLY?! I don't want this to be the final chapter! I'd like to now more! This didn't end on a final note, so I really REALLY hope there will be more!], Alex comes into his own and the love he bares to his wife is stronger than ever; Lindsay, on the other hand continues to baffle, but in the end I cut her some slack because she really is a complex character.

We also came to know real Trefor and he grew on me [although I wished he'd grow on his mother too].

All in all, this was a fun, entertaining, well written and interesting series filled with complex characters, fast pace and action. You should give it a try with sample chapters, and get it if you like the genre.

Let me also add that I preferred the original book covers [those are the ones by my reviews]. They look more like the characters in the books.

To purchase these books, click on their new ebook covers.

Julianne LeeAUTHOR BIO: At twelve I began to write for fun, which I think is the only real reason to write fiction. Daydreaming with a purpose, and gradually I realized I could gain approval for the very thing teachers used to criticize me for in class.

At thirty I looked for something to do besides acting and changing diapers.
Throughout this time I’d kept writing, though sporadically, and about then I began a second novel.

On January 27, 1987 I bought my first copy of Writers Digest. Another turning point in my life. For the next several years I wrote manuscripts, sent the work out, joined writers groups, and workshopped my novels with the Green River Writers in Louisville, KY. After seven years I sold my first short story, Culture Control, to the now defunct Cosmic Unicorn.

Twelve years, twelve completed novel manuscripts, and eight proposals for uncompleted novels after buying that Writer’s Digest, I sold a novel. Sold from an outline, “Son of the Sword” was my thirteenth completed manuscript. Lucky thirteen.

[Courtesy of Amzaon]

And just for fun [and to get you in a mood for this series], here’s the TIMELINE trailer….

‘Timeless Love’ by Karyn Gerrard

STORY: 1969—Underworld enforcer Joey Indelli didn’t expect an English Regency Era carriage to appear before his very eyes in a thunderbolt of light. Inside he discovers a disoriented beauty, the honorable and delectable Catherine Worthington.

Catherine finds herself immediately attracted to her rough and very masculine rescuer but is determined to return to her home in 1821 Cornwall, England.

Seeing the carriage appear in front of him, Indelli believes her story but is convinced she has no choice but to stay in 1969.

Will the love that develops between them fade with their parting or somehow keep them together and prove…timeless?

REVIEW: This is my third book from Karyn Gerrard and let me tell you: I am now a full-fledged fan!

The above blurb is just a perfect bait to hook you to this story, but the story in itself is so well told that will have you laughing one moment, and wiping tears the next.

Ms. Gerrard is so good at giving us a hero that is rough and tough, yet tender, understanding and loving.

And as for the heroine, her innocence and beauty were so adorable that our hero had no chance!

This is a sequel to ‘Timeless Heart’ but you don’t have to read the first to follow the second, BUT you’d be missing on another fun and entertaining read if you don’t.

I really liked everything about this story. It was well written, character driven and fast paced.

This is an author that can weave an erotic AND sweet love story so well that will have you panting and sighing at the same time. If I were to give out stars, this would without a doubt be a FIVE star read! Way to go, Ms. Gerrard. I hope you tell us a couple of more stories from the carriage…like what happened to Baron Aidan Ashwood and Mr. Daniel McCubbin? And a driver Mr. Jonas Cook? I would love to find out their stories…