Secrets of a Highland Warrior

Hot Highlander alert! I’m always pumped to read a book based in my favorite country, so when Nicole Locke told me about Secrets of a Highland Warrior, I was totally on board.

  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Heat Level: ❤️❤️❤️❤️
  • Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

The year is 1293 and Rory Lochmore is the son of the chief of Clan Lochmore. Their lands are separated from the McCrieff’s by a single stream, one too thin to keep them from constantly drawing their swords. Rory is eager to prove his worth yet again by claiming the land given to them by the king, but a pair of deep, green eyes catch him off guard. Yet he’s not one to be swayed by a pretty face, until he’s made an offer he can’t refuse.

Ailsa McCrieff is the healer for her clan and the daughter of the next chief. When her father inherits the title, he’ll also be inheriting generations of hatred between the McCrieffs and the Lochmores, but he has a plan to mend the strife…have Ailsa marry Rory. She’s horrified at the thought of being tied to a savage, despite his handsomeness, but she knows it could be the only way to save lives.

There’s nothing more then animosity and physical attraction between them, not a great start to a marriage. But the fates of both their clans rest on their shoulders and only a wedding will stop the bloodshed. Can they come together to make a true match, or are they doomed to lives of misery?

While this is book four in the Lochmore Legacy Series, it’s the only book I’ve read. While I did feel that I missed out on some backstory and a few tidbits what would have made reading much smoother, it wasn’t anything crazy. I would suggest starting with book one, as you should with all good series, but I enjoyed myself immensely, even by starting at the end.

Ailsa was a fantastic character. Her tongue was just as sharp as the shears she used for cutting herbs and she wasn’t one to be meek and obey. She’s really makes the marriage happen by seeing Rory see reason and I liked how she wasn’t just a swooning lass. Their relationship was also a pleasure to follow, as they went through not only newlywed growing pains, but found a way to trust that the other wouldn’t stab them in their sleep!

I also found the historical side to be very believable. If you’re not familiar with me, or the blog, you won’t know that I’m a historian and nothing ruins a historical book for me than blatant mess ups. For example, many people will write books set in Scotland and throw kilts around like confetti, despite using the wrong tartan or having the time period set before kilts were even a thing! It’s silly, but having Locke not throw Rory into a kilt was fabulous.

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it to all historical romance lovers.

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Unlaced by the Highland Duke

I love all things Scottish. I love the history, the mystery, the architecture, all of it. But I also adore books set in Scotland, no matter the time period. But it’s been a long time since I read a historical romance set in the land of my ancestors, so I was eager to read Unlaced by the Highland Duke by Lara Temple.

  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Heat Level: ❤️❤️❤️
  • Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

Benneit’s wife Bella has been gone two years, leaving him to raise their young son Jamie alone. His wife’s family implores him to allow them to raise the child, but the Duke of Lochmore refuses time and time again. But he realizes that in his grief and loneliness, his son has suffered from a want of companionship on the estate. Enter his late wife’s widowed cousin Joane. The mousy woman has a tongue like a viper and for the first time in years, Benneit is on his toes…and likes it.

Joane, or Jo as she likes to be called, adores young Jamie at once and fosters his imagination. At first, she sees Benneit as a surly, brooding, gruff man who needs to be taken down a notch. Lucky for her, he’s amused by her quips and she begins to break through his hardened shell. Soon, she catches glimpses of the man behind the shield, the caring one with the deep laugh and soulful eyes. But she can’t let herself get too close before her heart gets broken.

Her sharp tongue and witty admonishments and his generous nature and secretive, boyish joy make Jo and Benneit toe the line of proprietary as their hearts take them in a direction neither intended. As the pair warms to one another on the cold Scottish hills, the woman Benneit is to marry comes into full focus. Lady Tessa checks all the boxes for an amenable wife, something that doesn’t escape Jo’s notice…or Benneit’s.

It’s so refreshing to fall into a fabulously done Scottish romance again. Temple really wove a tale of love, longing, and rolling hills to create a quintessential historical I didn’t want to put down. There was passion, emotion, and picturesque countryside between every page.

Jo was a lovely character who had her head on straight. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, even when she probably should keep quiet, but she isn’t obnoxious about it. Benneit had a lot of depth, more than you would think when you first meet him. They grow together, and it’s nice to see.

Overall, this book is perfect for all historical romance fans.

The Unseen

I feel like I’ve waited forever for the lovely, talented Irina Shapiro to grace my Audible App with the next installment of Echoes from the Past. This addictive series steeped in history, mystery, and enough drama to keep anyone on their toes has easily become one of my persona favorites. Today, we’ll discuss The Unseen, book five in the epic saga that is Quinn’s life.

    Genre: Historical Fiction with Time Travel
  • Story Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers
  • Narration Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

In 2014 Quinn is settling into a routine, trying to juggle her work as an archeologist, being a mother two two children, one of whom is a newborn, being a wife, having a social life, and still using the past to investigate murders from long ago. When she’s brought to a London flat, she finds it frozen in the Edwardian ages, but that’s not the strangest part. There’s a skeleton in a clawfoot tub, hidden behind a secret door. Now Quinn is left to use her special talents to find out who the person was, how they died, and who killed them.

In 1917 aristocratic young lady Valentina narrowly escaped Russia with her life, as being well-born was a death sentence in the Revolution. She makes it to London with her mother and younger siblings without the wealth and prestige she once enjoyed. When a relative named Dmitry offers his help, Valentina’s family accepts without considering the secret cost. Who was once to be their savior soon becomes Valentina’s worst nightmare as the family fights for survival in a new land.

Armed with a Fabergè egg necklace, Quinn dives into the past to solve the mystery of the body left to rot in a London flat for a hundred years. But that’s not the one on her mind. The whereabouts of her long lost twin still haunt her and she’s left to wonder who she will find first, the killer or her sister.

I really identified with Quinn in this book as she tried to find a balance in life with a new baby. It’s nice to see a normal character who doesn’t immediately fall into the role of picture perfect mom who has it all without a care. She puts in the work, as all parents do, and it was lovely to see her overcome different challenges. Although most challenges she’s faced so far like a plot to murder her, the reveal of her birth family, and the fact she can see through time are some many people will ever go through.

Valentina’s story was an interesting one. When we think about the Russian Revolution, we usually think about the lost princess Anastasia and the rest of the Romanov family or the wild death of Rasputin. We don’t see much about the aristocrats that managed to hop trains, flee their homes on horseback, or buy their way to a different land, dressed as a peasant. Her struggle to grieve the loss of her former life and her father and fiancé while trying to keep her remaining family afloat was something I can assume many faced when in a supposed safe place. From page one, I worried what would happen to poor Valentina.

Shapiro did a fantastic job weaving in Russian history and facts into a thrilling drama of betrayal and loss. I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising since Shapiro herself was born in Moscow. Still, many authors forgo historical facts to focus more on just the story. She does neither, perfectly pairing the past and present to create a book that doesn’t sacrifice a thing.

I don’t think there will ever be enough praise for this series, which is perfect for lovers of women’s fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, time travel, romance, or just plain good books.

What Happens in the Highlands

Match made in heaven or maid of dishonor?

Tight-laced Rose Hensel arrives in Scotland for her best friend’s wedding with a plan—to be the greatest maid of honor ever, let loose for the first time in years, and find out what Scottish guys really wear under their kilts. After meeting the best man, she thinks she found the man who checks all the boxes for a no-strings-attached romp among the heather.
Lachlan Calder-Mackinnon knows how to show a girl a good time. Gourmet dinners in castle ruins, picnics among rolling hills, and a seaside escape create some unforgettable dates. But as the fling begins to morph into something more, an unexpected wedding guest threatens to ruin Rose and Lachlan’s new romance.
With a plane ticket in one hand and her broken heart in the other, Rose prepares to head home to reality. However, she’s about to learn that what happens in the Highlands doesn’t always stay there. 
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The Christmas Challenge

I’ve been getting into the world of Westerns lately, and was lucky that my introduction to it was through The Christmas Challenge, The Wilder Brothers Book 3, by Sinclair Jayne.

Heat Level:❤️❤️❤️

Genre: Western, Holiday Romance

Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

Tucker goes back to the Triple T Ranch as little as possible. But when her twin sister plans her wedding for Christmas Eve, Tucker has no choice but to leave LA and head home to Marietta, Montana. She plans on being the perfect wedding helper and staying so far out of trouble, no one in town can even begin to gossip. However, she has a less than chaste background with the groom and when a hot cowboy comes within range of Tucker, she finds it hard to say no.

Laird has to Marietta with one goal in mind, to unlock the secrets of his past. He doesn’t expect Tucker to be the first person he meets. She’s a redhead with a bite and he’s drawn to her like no other. But she’s made a promise to herself to stay away from sex, so he makes due with coffee meetups and midnight ice skating.

Their secrets bind them together and they confide in one another with the knowledge that after the Christmas wedding, they’ll both go home. But midnight skating turns into all night talking and some chemistry no one can ignore.

Okay, I want to start with the chemistry between Tucker and Laird. The way they skimmed the unspoken line people do before falling into bed was electric. I just wanted to push them together and yell, “just get in bed!” But the slow burn between them was just another element I really enjoyed, and in retrospect, wouldn’t change a thing.

Tucker’s growth in the book was also very well done. She blew into Marietta as a headstrong, selfish, girl, but by the end, she certainly learned a few lessons on humility and patience. But her flaws made her human and the way she was able to self-reflect was fantastic.

Overall, The Christmas Challenge was a funny, sweet but sexy, holiday romance that made me want to put on my ice skates.

Irish Reads

Ireland is a colorful country with a history and culture that’s reflected in its art. The book are no different, and I just wanted to throw out a few of my favorite works by Irish authors. Some you’ve probably read, a few have movie deals, and others are hidden gems from the Emerald Isle.

The Wanderings of Oisín by W.B. Yeats is technically a book of poems. While I’m not a poetry expert, or normally even a fan, I really enjoy how he fleshed out Irish legends and think he did a marvelous job. For the full effect of his work, look up “The Stolen Child.” You’ll see what I mean.

You’ve probably seen Brooklyn, starting fabulous Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, but Brooklyn was a book first by Irish author Colm Tóibín. It’s a very moving piece of fiction about a young woman named Ellis who leaves Ireland for America and ends up straddling two worlds. It’s a book about tough decisions that belongs on any bookshelf.

Here’s another book turned movie where the book is better, in my opinion. PS. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern is about a widow named Holly, living in Dublin and grieving the premature loss of her husband. He left her a stack of letters to help her through life without him. It’s a tear-jerker for sure!

Seventeen year old Maggie was a steerage passenger on the Titanic who woke up in New York. She decides to never return to her native Ireland, or speak of her journey again. But secrets never stay that way forever in The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor.

How Many Miles to Babylon by Jennifer Johnston explores class differences in Ireland before the onset of WWI. An aristocrat and one of his laborers begin a friendship that follows them into the trenches. It’s a historical fiction of the highest caliber.

The Butterfly Cabinet by Bernie McGill is a novel that fits perfectly in the historical thriller section of any personal library. A mysterious death in Northern Ireland brings two women together, intertwining their lives for decades.

Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes is a romantic comedy suitable for anyone who wants a light read. After visiting a psychic, Lucy thinks there might be love on the horizon, but life’s never that easy.

Here’s a dark comedy that takes place in Cork. There’s a wild cast of character in The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney that are brought together by an accidental crime that has unintended consequences.

That’s it for my short list! Have you read any of these books, or do you have any others to add? Let me know in the comments!

What Happens in the Highlands

I have a Valentine’s Day treat! My contemporary romance romance, What Happens in the Highlands, is now available for preorder!
Match made in heaven or maid of dishonor?
Tight-laced Rose Hensel arrives in Scotland for her best friend’s wedding with a plan—to be the greatest maid of honor ever, let loose for the first time in years, and find out what Scottish guys really wear under their kilts. After meeting the best man, she thinks she found the man who checks all the boxes for a no-strings-attached romp among the heather.
Lachlan Calder-Mackinnon knows how to show a girl a good time. Gourmet dinners in castle ruins, picnics among rolling hills, and a seaside escape create some unforgettable dates. But as the fling begins to morph into something more, an unexpected wedding guest threatens to ruin Rose and Lachlan’s new romance.
With a plane ticket in one hand and her broken heart in the other, Rose prepares to head home to reality. However, she’s about to learn that what happens in the Highlands doesn’t always stay there. 

Preorder your ebook copy now at:

  • Amazon by clicking HERE
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Apparent Power

A dormant gene awakens in a quarter of the world’s population and the effects are apocalyptic. With an even rarer gene, the life of Valerie Russell turns into a shocking race against time. When the human body begins to require more electricity than needed to keep a heart beating, cars lose power, phones no longer function, and planes fall from the sky. Stranded in southern Colorado, a hundred miles from home–and from her two-year-old son– Valerie must find it within herself to trek the distance with the help of a questionable assembly of ex-military friends of the family.

But the awakening has a different effect on Valerie. While others absorb electricity, Valerie’s abilities are not as limited, making her the key to unlocking a worldwide genocide of those who were not affected. As she evades the rising totalitarian government, Valerie is also faced with a moral choice: risk failure and attempt to save the masses from the regime’s deadly plot or run and preserve only the lives of her family.

How does a mother make such an impossible choice?

Order your copy of this science fiction thriller HERE

Dacia M Arnold is an author of adult dystopian and dark fiction. She enjoys writing main characters who are otherwise normal people with extraordinary abilities.

To say Dacia is an author and a mother would only be scratching the surface. She is an avid karaoke singer, master crafter and a thrift-ster. She is also a ten-year Army veteran and served two tours of combat as a medic.

From a young age, her imagination lent itself to short stories and poems. Dacia moved every three years since she was born, as with most military families, which allowed her to reinvent herself with new friends. Like most girls, her father is her hero, and later in life, she followed her father’s boot prints by joining the military. Dacia spent fifteen months working in Baghdad Emergency room. There she lay witness to both horrors and miracles.

While she was away for her second deployment, Dacia lost her best friend to domestic violence. After her friend’s passing, Dacia served as a victim advocate until her time in the military ended. Now, to help others, she speaks out often in social media platforms to encourage victims of their own strength and informs them of options to get help.

Dacia blogs about being a writer, a mom of two and the struggles therein. She sometimes incorporates life with her railroad conductor husband in Denver, Colorado and a few diy projects. When in rare form, she will share stories about her time in the military, her medical experiences, short fiction stories, and very rarely a poem.

Dacia’s first full length novel incorporates almost every aspect of her life. APPARENT POWER is an award-winning story following a mother on a journey to find her son before a rising, post-apocalyptic government does. The main character will stop at nothing to ensure her son’s safety.

SHIFTING POWER, Book 2 in the DiaZem Trilogy, is in the works to be released in the fall of 2019.

The Billionaire’s Cure

Around the holidays, I like to listen to audiobooks while cooking, cleaning, baking, and wrapping. But when grandma’s there, or a great uncle, or other relatives are visiting, I can’t dip into my usual romance audiobook list without headphones. But when I find a sweet book that’s rated no higher than PG on the steam scale, I’m happy to share with grandma. Enter The Billionaire’s Cure by Penelope Spark, narrated by Meghan Kelly.

Heat Level: ❤️

Genre: Sweet Romance

Overall Rating: 5/6 Glass Slippers

Chad has always been a hard worker, a rigid businessman, and someone who could only relax with a drink in his hand. It paid off with billions in the bank, but he’s not the picture of health. His mentor ships him off to a retreat that’s more of a hippie commune in Chad’s eyes with all raw food, no cellphones, and more horrifically, no coffee. He’s less than into yoga and therapy, but he’s trapped without a car and no escape. But when he meets Heidi, he thinks he might just tough it out.

Heidi is the health coach at the retreat, knowing what herbs can get rid of a headache, and what the best yoga poses are for a strained back. Usually new clients are less than thrilled about the raw vegan diets and the hours of peace and quiet, but Chad takes it to a new level and she thinks he’s a bit of a spoiled brat. But Heidi never met a client she couldn’t crack.

Chad and Heidi strike up a loose friendship where both dance around how different their lives are. Then a new client from Chad’s area comes to stay and things get wildly complicated for a place that highlights relaxation on their brochure. With an end date in sight and lies between them, it’ll take more than a therapy appointment and some yoga to fix their mess.

Story wise, it was a cute book with a location unlike any other I had read. Personally, I don’t think I could survive without coffee and the internet, but if Chad could, I guess I could as well. Both Chad and Heidi were flawed in a human way that made them a bit annoying at times, but that often only served to make them seem more real, in some aspects.

As I listened, I was desperate for them to just come clean to each other. But annoyance of two peoples romantic ignorance is often the mark of a good book. If you aren’t a little torn or or anxious or angry or sad, is it really a book worth reading?

As with every other Meghan Kelly narration I’ve had the pleasure of listening to, The Billionaire’s Cure was a lovely book to spend time with. Each character had a unique tone that gave them all a voice without coming across as too much. With some audiobooks, over-narration can really take away from the story as the speaker tries too hard. But Kelly never over does it, merely adds to the story, just as a a narrator should.

The Unforgiven

Irina Shapiro has graced us with another audiobook that has left me wanting more. Narrated by Wendy Wolfson, I listened to The Unforgiven, book three in the Echoes From The Past series nonstop since downloading it. I really wish I could tell you all the gritty details, but if you haven’t paid attention and haven’t picked up this series yet, I’ll keep my review as spoiler free as I can.

Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

Heat Level:❤️❤️❤️

Genre: Historical/Contemporary Mystery

Quinn is back on the hunt for her father, and hopefully the truth about where her gift comes from. Her clues lead her to New Orleans, Louisiana and a family that seems to welcome her with open arms. What begins as a weekend away from Gabe turns into several weeks as a new story unfolds before her eyes.

Madeline is a monied young lady from Louisiana in 1858. She’s adored by her father, as an only child. But when he dies and the estate is sold to pay his debts, she’s sent to live at the Arabella Plantation with a grandmother she never knew and a cousin who welcomes her fully. While initially excited to learn more about the family her father never spoke of, she finds that he had been banished years before and her grandmother hates her in place of him. But no one will tell her what terrible sin he committed.

There’s no record of Madeline in the history books or in the family grave. Quinn longs to know more about the young woman and uses her gift to unravel a life cut short. But her own life is turned on it’s head, and as she comes to terms with her own heritage, she’ll find that alligators and voodoo are not the only dangers in Nola.

I think I’ve said this every time I review this book…it deserves to be a TV series. The time hopping adventure Shapiro creates are completely enthralling and deserves a wider platform. I’ve become emotionally involved in these characters, something that usually wears off after a few books. But these have such backstories that I have to know more!

There was a small teaser in the books end that gave me hope that the series will never end. I could red about, and listen to, Quinn’s adventures forever. Each story is so different and compelling, one could never get bored of her glimpses into the past. The fact that her personal life is full of wild twists and turns doesn’t hurt anything either!

I highly, highly, highly recommend this book series too all book lovers, but especially those who love some mystery and history in their reads.