‘Plaid Tidings’ by Mia Marlowe

PT MMSTORY: Christmas in the Highlands. . . Not any dashing English lord’s idea of a good time. But now that Lord Alexander Mallory has won a Scottish estate in a hand of cards, he is the unlikely laird of the wild, snowy Bonniebroch. Worse yet, the ancient pile of stones comes with a betrothal. To a fiery red-headed virgin. And a curse. Alex will have his hands full honoring the first, seducing the second and breaking the third . . . all by Twelfth Night.

REVIEW: First, before you read this story, please get the novella which precedes it [‘Plaid to the Bone’ which I’m reviewing right after this one] and the reason behind it is the main plot of the curse that was cast in the novella and is affecting our hero and his heroine.

I’m a huge Mia Marlowe fan, and ‘Plaid Tidings’ proves once more that her writing is filled with wonderful prose, but what draws me more than even that is her characters. They are so well-rounded and well liked, even the secondary ones, like our heroines constant companion, who is a GHOST!

This is also a sweet, sensual and very entertaining romance.   I have no doubt that you’ll love the hero, Lord Alexander Mallory who wins a Scottish estate in a game of cards and unbeknownst to him, a betrothal with it!

Meeting Lucinda MacOwen was a hoot! I adored her courage, her astuteness and wit. It was such a pleasure watching these two do the ‘dance’ and just the anticipation and sexual tension that grew between them alone is worth the read.   ‘Plaid Tidings’ is one of many novels that I’ve read so far from Ms. Marlowe and as usual, she never fails to deliver. I highly recommend it, especially at this time of year. It has a wonderful Yuletide feel that you’ll love. I promise!

*ARC provided by the author

PTTB MM‘Plaid to the Bone’ 

BONUS STORY: A bride comes to Bonniebroch. . . But Cait Grant is hardly dreaming of wedded bliss. For political reasons, she must marry Adam Cameron, laird of Bonniebroch. And then, as a duty to her clan, she must murder him. . .

If only her new husband weren’t so devilishly handsome. If only she didn’t have to play the loving wife for one long, languorous month. If only she didn’t surrender to his softly sensual touch, she would be able to fulfill her duty. If only she didn’t fall in love. . .

BONUS REVIEW: This novella is a must read before you go to ‘Plaid Tidings’ (Spirit of the Highlands). I am so glad I read it in order because it explains a lot about the curse that is put on the people of Bonniebroch.

I love anything with a setting in Scotland, so this was just a perfect story to take me there.

Ms. Marlowe sure did a great job of painting the picture of the sixteenth century Scotland with all its political turmoil of young King James V.

I fell in love with Adam Cameron, laird of Bonniebroch, and his intended, Cait Grant, and went through her personal agony right along with her as she makes her choices. I also fell in love with a secondary character of Farquhar, and I must say Ms. Marlowe threw me a curve ball with that character.

This novella has a little bit of everything in it. A bit of magic, romance, good guys, bad guys and a most awesome hero you’ll find in the sixteenth century. Great read and very entertaining.

Melanie for b2b

*Book bought from Amazon.

My first RT Convention [my first convention ever]

RT Booklovers Convention is on Baby! It’s happening right now (from April 11 – April 15), and it’s in my town, Chicago and there was no way I could have stayed away from it, not when most of my awesome and talented romance authors and bloggers, would be attending.

It’s Wednesday night and I’m counting days and hours to this weekend. I have only a weekend pass for RT Convention and I’m excited to a point where anxiety is taking over! I think I need some Yoga to calm me down…

Anyways, with my health issues slowly, and I mean about a turtle speed, getting better, I’m just about ready for this event to lift my ‘steroid induced roller-coaster’ of emotions, up.

Yesterday I’ve downloaded the RT’s Agenda and highlighted some things that will be a must attend and some authors that are a must meet.

A NOBLE AFFAIR is on a Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. and it’s a champagne breakfast hosted by NOBLE PUBLISHING, which means I need to rise early…very early [note to self: need to arrange to meet Grace Burrowes there, and oh God I hope I do not swoon when meeting Madam Authoress].

At 11:15 a.m. I’m planning to go to a discussion on THE TROUBLE WITH LAYERS and listen to Loretta Chase, Kieran Kramer, Sarah MacLean, Jade Lee and Sabrina Jeffries [note to self: with so much talent in one room, do not, I repeat-do not embarrass yourself by aping a salivating dog].

In the evening there are a couple of things I’d love to check out and the chance to meet Katharine Ashe, Lorraine Heath, Tessa Dare and Sophie Jordan at AVON’S INDIGO LOUNGE, as well as visit with Heather Graham with NIGHT OF THE STARS GANGSTER CAFE TALENT QUEST, would be an awesome way to end my first day at the convention [note to self: time to get of the med’s for this weekend].

As I’m packing some of my favorite books from Mary Balogh, Victoria Alexander, Monica Burns, Shana Galen, Sylvia Day, Emma Wildes, Delilah Marvelle, Heather Snow, Jade Lee, Mia Marlowe and many more, I’m so happy I can’t stand it. Is it Friday yet?!

To all of you bookworms, I promise we’ll have plenty of stuff to giveaway, so get ready for it!

SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER by Connie Mason with Mia Marlowe

From the first paragraph you’re sucked in as the authors are letting us into Rob’s dream and it is a dream that Rob keeps having frequently of loving his dead wife. These dreams are the only thing that keeps this man who everyone calls ‘Mad Rob’ somewhat ‘sane’. Without having Fiona’s ‘visits’ in his dreams he would be lost and the pain would truly drive him insane.

They were married on Christmas day and twelve days later, by Epiphany, she was abducted by Lachlan Drummond, repeatedly raped by him, and one day she jumped out the tower window to her death.
Rob has lived with this knowledge and hate towards Lachlan for two years, and finally he is ready to spring revenge on the man who hurt his Fiona. He aims to have an ‘eye for an eye’ and is planning to crash Lachlan’s wedding and take his bride, Elspeth Stewart.

Elspeth Stewart is a dutiful daughter and in order to please her father she is willing to wed a man of his choosing, Laird Lachlan Drummond. Accepting this marriage, doesn’t make her happy as much as it makes her apprehensive. Right before she is to say her vows Mad Rob enters the Kirk on his black stallion and dumps her across his lap, telling Lachlan that if he wants his bride in one piece, he is to come to Caistal Dubh in one month’s time so they could finally have it out. Coming any sooner, let alone follow him, would certainly bring on her death!

What follows is a story of Rob and his men, with Elspeth in tow, making their way to his castle, while Lachlan and her father are following a trail that clever Elspeth leaves for them. However, once Elspeth learns the truth behind Rob’s thirst for revenge against Lachlan, she slowly realizes that Rob saved her from the same faith.

This story is brimming with action; the plot is full of twists and turns and the characters of Elspeth and Rob had me sigh and cry while I followed their road to happily ever after. To listen to Rob finally tell Elspeth about his love for his wife was heartbreaking not only for Elspeth but for the reader too.

To have these two authors take a fairly unoriginal trope of ‘bride abduction’ and turn it into a unique and heartwarming tale is awe inspiring.

I loved taking this danger filled journey with our hero and heroine. To watch them fight off an attack by a pack of howling wolves exhilarating and fun. Along the way they’ll come across many secondary characters that will aid them and we’ll come to care for them as well.

I was riveted by both Elspeth and Rob and their strong feelings for each. Both had a hard time accepting and admitting it to themselves let alone to each other. As someone who has The Sight, Elspeth was hoping it would help her ‘see’ what might come next, but alas every time a vision appears it seems to be just a bit too late.

Rob has regrets and the quilt he feels in not being able to protect his Fiona, is something that he has a very hard time coming to terms with. Oh, and wait until you meet the villain and Elspeth’s attended, Lachlan. What a piece of work this dude turned out to be. It has been awhile since I’ve encountered such a thoroughly despicable human being. This man had not only raped and tortured Fiona, but he felt not a bit of remorse and planned to do the same to Elspeth. She was only means to an end for him, and worth only the dowry she brings. Besides lying to her parents, which was the least of his numerous sins, he at one point accuses her of witchcraft and plans to see her burned. As far as villains go, this guy is second to none!

But our hero is ever ready to come to Elspeth’s rescue and to read the last chapters of this book was one pure pleasure! I’ve literally paced the floor with my Kindle, rooting for Rob to end that bastard’s days once and for all.

Can you tell I liked this book? I hope that you can because I certainly gave enough clues! This is one fast paced journey that I was made to feel a part of, and for that I must thank the authors who are masters of their craft. I have no doubt that this book will be one of the best reads of 2012. I will not be surprised if it is nominated and awarded a prize. Everything in it is prize worthy.

I have to admit that I am stunned at Connie Mason’s and Mia Marlowe’s writing. SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER does not read as a co-written story. I am not sure who wrote which part, or how does that work anyways? Everything flowed seamlessly and I couldn’t tell that it was written by two people.

This is one story that all Highlander fans will love, but especially Connie Mason’s fans that have been waiting for this story for some time now. I also think that Mia Marlowe’s old and new fans will love this collaborative work and ask for more! As for myself, I have added two new authors to my wish list, my to be read pile and an auto buy list. Need I tell you this is a five quill read or will you deduce this from my review? I wish you a happy reading!

*This review posted on Romantic Crush Junkies Reviews eZine*

“A Duke for All Seasons” by Mia Marlowe

STORY: Sebastian Blake, His Grace the Duke of  Winterhaven, has an inviolate rule when it comes to mistresses. He never keeps one longer than a turn of the season. But then he’s never met a woman as tempting as Arabella St. George…

A fiery operatic diva, Arabella is blackmailed into helping the French. When she gives the envelope intended for a French assassin to the Duke of Winterhaven by mistake, she’ll do anything to retrieve it. Even if she has to seduce it away from him…

REVIEW: Since I am always on the lookout for new authors (to me at least) and interesting and entertaining stories, I stumbled on a website of an author by the name of Emily Bryan and she offered free chapters of her novella A DUKE FOR ALL SEASONS which was very intriguing, very sophisticated and had an element of surprise that I just loved.

Alas, I never read anything after Chapter 8 and I was left to wonder what happened to the Duke and his Opera mistress and how it all ended.

Fast forward to this year, and I’m surfing the net and I see the title of this book and next to it the name that’s not familiar to me of Mia Marlowe. By reading synopses of the story, I can see that it’s my Duke and his Mistress, but the name was confusing me and a little research was a relief to find out that Mia and Emily are one and the same.

Sebastian, Duke of Winterhaven, is a man who has to have order in his life, even in regards to his mistress’s. In order not to get too attached to them, or rather for them not to get too attached to him, he maintains a ‘schedule’ of them. Every Season he engages a new one. It all works out for the best, for all parties concerned.

Arabella St. George is an Opera performer with a passion for two things, her art and her daughter, who she’s given to her sister to raise as her own. The reason behind it is a man who will stop at nothing to hurt her or her daughter.

After setting his eyes on her and watching her perform, Sebastian is considering her for his next mistress. He is all set to hand her his proposition one evening and surprises her backstage. She on the other hand doesn’t seem to be surprised by his visit mistaking him for a contact she expected to hand over a letter.

A DUKE FOR ALL SEASONS is a novella that will grab you from the start and its fast pace will keep you anticipating the next curve. Its romance with a dollop of sensuality will keep you wishing for a fan, and the dialogue will have you chuckle, while the suspense will keep you turning pages and guessing.

Please don’t let the word ‘short’ put you off. For me, no matter the length of the story, as long as I can get all the elements of a good read, such as decent pace, interesting plot and emotional connection to the characters, I am a happy camper.

This novella fills that bill to a perfection. It has romance and passion; adventure and danger; a strong and courage’s heroine paired with an equally strong and sexy hero. For a sweet romance that’s sprinkled with intrigue and sensuality that now I have come to associate with Ms. Marlowe (Emily Bryan) I highly recommend it. 

Before I read this novella, I had a privilege to read SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER, which is a book collaboration of Connie Mason and Mia Marlowe and it floored me at how seamlessly they merged their prose in this story of revenge and passion. Mark your Calendar! This is one book you do NOT want to miss!