Magic in Alba, A Steamy Englishman and A Highlander In A Kilt!

The Lady of Magick

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I’ve been waiting to get my hands on this book since seeing it at a bookstore and was so glad when I could finally dive into it after reading the first book.

Gray and Sophie are back in alternative Victorian England, this time as a married couple studying at the Merlin College in Oxford. Living together as husband and wife while also being at the college is interesting to say the least particularly for Sophie who struggles to manage the work load and to avoid the odd looks she gets due to being one of the few women at the college and the Lost English Princess. She would rather hide and concentrate on her studies than to be looked at just because she is long lost royalty and the only girl attending college. Gray worries about her so when he’s given the chance to be a guest lecturer at the University in Din Edin in Alba and mentions it to Sophie, who has been extended a scholarship to also attend, they both jump at the chance to have an adventure and Sophie is looking forward to going to college where she’s just known as Sophie Marshall and surrounded by an equal amount of girls and boys.

Sophie becomes concerned about Alba when she notices poorer areas and blighted animals being burned on their trip to Din Edin. When she mentions it to Catriona MacCrimmon who is helping her while staying in Din Edin, she doesn’t seem too bothered by it though does mention that Alba used to be a lot stronger hundreds of years ago under the watchful eye of Laird Alpin who was a powerful mage and created a mysterious spell net to protect the land and his people. Shortly after arriving in Din Edin though, she becomes caught up in life as a student including learning how to speak Gaelic, married life, making friends including Lucia MacNeill who is the heiress of her clan and future leader of Scotland and soon becomes caught up in the unrest of some of the people of Alba when they learn Lucia is to be married to an English Prince.

After a lot of hesitation, Sophie decides to reveal to some of her newfound friends that she’s indeed the Lost Princess of England and though she loses a friend, she becomes closer to Lucia who will one day be her sister-in-law. Sophie and Gray’s friends keep Sophie’s heritage a secret and life seems to somewhat return to normal as a foreign student studying in Alba.

Joanna has grown up a lot since the last book and she’s become very valuable as Lord Kergabet’s assistant. She’s also become a friend Prince Roland though she’s not sure what to do about his sudden attention though does her best to not encourage him especially when she finds herself caught up in court politics. When she learns of information that could really affect Roland and her sister, she’s torn between revealing and remembering her loyalties. She makes a decision that eventually affects her relationship with Roland but also knows where her loyalties have to lie.

Sophie’s just starting to settle in and enjoy herself despite the unrest when she comes home after a shopping trip to find Gray gone with a short note about going to visit his father who mysteriously became ill and left in a hurry. At first Sophie looks forward to hearing from Gray but then soon she realizes that all is not well and attempts to look into what might have become of her husband but alas no finding spell can seem to locate him . When her sister Joanna and Joanna’s friend Gwen show up for a visit, they find learn that Gray has left suddenly and it’s up to Sophie to show them around. Sophie had been waiting months to see her beloved sister so was prepared and eagerly waited for her arrival but Gwen was an unexpected last minute addition to the party. The more that Gray is away with no message of his whereabouts though, the more that Sophie seems to be less inclined to do things and spends most of her mind moping around. Joanna soon learns though that it’s not just a simple case of moping around and that if Gray doesn’t return, she may very well lose her sister forever. Joanna tries to look into what might have happened to Gray with the help of Gwen, Sophie and Gray’s friends in Din Edin and other people that might narrow things down. They are all soon tangled up in a plot that is more complicated than finding Gray and could impact all of Alba in the near future.

By sheer luck, Sophie is able to locate her husband after a particularly trying spell with the help of a few close friends. Not willing to sit idle while things are figured out in a rescue mission, Sophie, Joanna and Gwen set out on their own to rescue Gray and hopefully not land in hot water themselves. Lucia also becomes a big help by lending some of her magic to Sophie though things turn out quite a bit differently than these three had expected and will find help in unlikely places. Sophie soon learns that sometimes you have to let go of what you fear the most, believe in yourself and sometimes its best to let magic have its way. When two people are meant to be together, love will prevail and I knew that somehow Gray and Sophie would find their way back to each other.

I always love reading about Scotland and I loved that it was referred to Alba which is the Latin name for Scotland and is such a beautiful country. It was such a pleasure to add more Gaelic words to my vocabulary and another song to my playlist. Sylvia really has a way of describing things and I could almost picture this alternative Alba in my head and smell the salty sea air. She always draws me in with her storytelling until the very end. This book was full of adventure, humor, magic, friendship, love, mystery and unexpected twists. The ending of the book came as a surprise and yet I’m glad things ended as they did. I won’t spoil the ending because I’ve never liked spoilers myself but I was on the edge of my seat right until the end!

I’m so glad that there’s another book in the series while also sad that there’s just three books in this series. I really hope the author has more up her sleeve in the Noctis Magicae world! Just can’t get enough of Gray, Sophie, their friends and loved ones and and alternative UK where most people are magically inclined!

The Heiress and the Hothead

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I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review and what a wonderful story it was.
This is about Stephen and Amanda who are two people from different worlds and by pure chance and mistaken identity, exchange a passionate kiss under the mistletoe upon meeting each other.
Stephen is a younger English son who came from money but never felt he fit in and passionately writes about campaigning for the poor and children who are working in dangerous conditions in some of the mills and Stephen hopes to change that.
Amanda is an American Heiress from America who came to see her brother for the holidays in England and talk to other mill owners. She’s fiercely independent, trying to make a success of her mills in Pennsylvania, not interested in potential suitors and is anxious to return home after the holidays.
When these two get together, sparks fly in more than one way. Somehow Stephen manages to get Amanda under mistletoe throughout the house which leads to quite a bit of kissing.
Amanda finds herself drawn to Stephen but doesn’t entirely trust him after he agrees to show her some behind the scenes of life at the mill and tries to shock her by introducing her to one of the poor families who work at the mill. She soon shows Stephen that she’s not like one of the many bad mill owners, is appalled by some of the conditions people have to work in, particularly the really young children and genuinely cares about those who work for her. Stephen soon realizes that he made a mistake in judging her so harshly and does his best to make it up to her. Despite trying to fight his growing attraction to Amanda, he soon realizes that he’s fallen head over heels for her. When Amanda admits her feelings and asks him to be with her, he admits that he isn’t ready to leave the work he’s done in England behind to live life with Amanda in Pennsylvania.
On Christmas Eve, as they are both trying to come to terms with possibly not seeing each other again, a fire breaks out at the mill and these two will be caught in a situation that will force them to realize that sometimes you have to follow the path to your heart, even when that path seems uncertain.

This novella was wonderful to read, I loved that it was a quick read though there was plenty of tension, a particularly steamy love scene and enjoyed the characters. It was nice to enjoy a quick read and yet feel like it’s a regular sized book. This was my first glimpse into Sindful Suitors series and I can’t wait to read more!

A Sinful Scottish Laird

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Release Date: February 28th, 2017. Available for Pre-Order!

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I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I had plans to wait until closer to the release date of this ARC which is the end of February but I just couldn’t resist reading ahead of time. After reading about Arran and Margot Mackenzie’s story, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on reading about a grown up Cailean who is their eldest son that will day be Laird of the Mackenzies and take up residence at Balhaire and has remained a bachelor, much to his mother’s annoyance.

Daisy Bristol, Lady Chatwick is a young widow and mother who has come to Auchenard which is in the Scottish Highlands with her Uncle Alfonso, her eight year old son Ellis, and her cousin Belinda from London to await hearing from who she believes in her long lost love, Captain Spivey. She loved him before her marriage, he sent a letter saying that he would be coming to London, and could very well save her from fortune hunters who have learned of her interesting situation. To get away from those fortune hunters, she decides to show Ellis a bit of his inheritance and also to take a break from the chaos of London.

Her interesting situation is that her husband put an edict in his will just before he died that Daisy must marry before three years are up after his death or Ellis will lose his fortune and Daisy is determined to save her son’s fortune and she hopes that Spivey could be that man.

Just before they read Auchenard, they temporarily have a break down and Cailean comes riding in, offering assistance. At first their hired coach mistakes Cailean and his crew as highwaymen and that gets sorted out. Daisy finds herself drawn to him in a way she hasn’t with any other man but manages to keep her cool and sends him on his way.

Once they arrive at Auchenard, they are shocked by the state of it which has fallen into disrepair mostly due a caretaker caring more about drinking than looking after what is essentially a large hunting lodge. It’s an adjustment for everyone to be at Auchenard and takes a lot of hard work as well as money to be livable but everyone rallies together and makes it work.

Daisy has lived a life of privilege but she also had no say in being married to the late Viscount Chatwick. She did eventually have affection for the man and his death was hard on her but finding out his edict was even harder. She wants to do right by her son but she also doesn’t want to have to choose someone that will only want to marry her because of the fortune that her son will one day take over. She’s smart, funny, loves to flirt and loves her family dearly. Daisy will not take this next chapter of her life lying down and falling for Cailean came as a big shock to her. Daisy is more than well matched for Cailean but it’s also complicated because she wants to follow her heart and yet do what’s best for Ellis.

Cailean is funny, smart, very responsible, loves his family and shies away from getting involved with those outside his clan, especially women because he was hurt as a young man. He just wants to do what is needed of him and take care of the people that will one day look to him for guidance. Fate isn’t quite ready to let him go without a fight and will soon show him that sometimes taking a leap of faith can lead to amazing opportunities.

I loved reading the scenes between Cailean and Ellis who get along so well. Cailean helps Ellis to come out of his shy shell and into being a regular young boy who needs guidance but also a friend. He doesn’t dismiss the boy or order him around like others have and that makes a big impression on Ellis. It was a very touching scene to read when Cailean gives Ellis his own plaid and sporran!

As Daisy and Cailean find themselves running into each other as they are neighbors, it becomes harder to resist the attraction they feel for each other. There were several steamy scenes that certainly mentions just how much stamina a Scotsman can have and feelings more than just a flirtation develop though they both try to fight it.

Much as these two should be together in my personal opinion, it’s easier said than done as they both have responsibilities and tensions are high as it’s the early 1740’s when the Jacobites are rallying and it’s a very dangerous time.

When something is meant to be though, it will find a way to happen and I really do think these two are amazing people that just need some nudging to realize how right they are together.

Full of humor, the power of love, steamy scenes, adventure and believing in the unexpected, it was well worth the wait of getting to reading this book earlier than its publication. I can’t wait to read more about the Mackenzie clan and be immersed in the Scottish Highlands!

So that concludes my bookish ramblings for the last three books that I’ve inhaled. I’m really enjoying this extra time I’ve had to read and excited at the thought of actually reaching my goal of reading eighty books this year! There’s so many new books coming out that I can’t wait to get my hands on as well as a small stack of library books and my own that I already own. I get easily distracted by other books and can’t seem to help myself. This Tuesday I am going to my local Barnes and Noble to look at new releases with my boyfriend and will probably bring home even more books. I have a small stack being sent to me that I ordered online, a pre-order of a book that will hopefully be in my hands by the end of this week and can’t wait to read more ARCs. My boyfriend jokingly called me a Rogue Librarian as I love being surrounded by books and sharing that love but alas don’t have the degree to be an actual Librarian. Maybe some day I can be and if not, I’ll continue enjoying writing about books I’ve read and squealing with joy every time I’m given a chance to read an ARC or new release.

Thank you so much for continuing to tune in and I’m so glad to be able to share my take on books with you. Feel free to follow me on Facebook , friend me on Instagram , or find me on Goodreads . May you never be without a book, booklight or e-reader! I will be back soon with more bookish ramblings and hope you’ll stop back!

Slainte

~Meg

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Triple Reviews, Contest Winner and Bookish Ramblings, Oh My!

Good evening,

I’ve been trying to read quicker while also working at getting my tbr pile down a bit that I haven’t had much time to post about my recent views on a few books as well as working my regular job. I did post on GoodReads but it was a quick one because I prefer to be more in depth on my blog. Before I go ahead with the double post, I would like to mention some things. Recently I have been very fortunate to receive two paper advanced reading copies (arcs) which have made my inner bookworm happy and brought happy tears to my eyes. Reading books is something that I’ve enjoyed since I was a little girl and only recently in the last few years have I considered writing reviews and hoping to  be given a chance at receiving advanced reading copies. My first arc was from a GoodReads contest called Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey which was a great book by the way and highly recommended. Since then, I’ve been fortunate to stumble across NetGalley where they have given a newbie book blogger (me) a chance to review digital arcs when I struggled to be given the chance to show just much I’d like to be a blogger and get paid in books. I can add being a beta reader for a very talented author to my list of people also giving me a chance and many others.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided on a whim to try to get a paper copy of a book called Intuitives by Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown. I nearly did a happy dance when I received the email about being approved for a physical arc copy which just happens to be near me right now. Then I also found out that I was to receive an arc of The Highland Duke by Amy Jarecki which I just received in the mail today and am a little stunned. I can’t accurately put into words how much it means to me that these authors are allowing me this amazing chance to have a physical copy of a project that they have likely worked on for years and I just wanted to say how grateful and touched  I am as a lover of books and fairly new book blogger. I hope that some day I may be given the chance by more authors to review their books whether digitally or paper though I know only so many can be given out and may some day I will be able to say that my second job literally pays me in books. Not that it would actually be a job though but a dream come true. So thank you again to those that have taken a leap of faith with me and for those that may in the future.

I held a contest back in regards to the Winner Takes All Series by Kate Noble with the chance for a participant to win all three books in the series. Time got away from me especially the the holidays, taking on a second job for a season, attempting to squeeze in reading time and well other curve balls that life sometimes throws. Now that my seasonal job is over with, I can get back to my regular schedule and have contacted the winner before posting this blog who is Danielle Clemmerson! She was very happy to receive the news and had them delivered safely to her hands yesterday! Congratulations to her and may the books be enjoyable. Thank you so much to everyone that participated and I hope that if I’m lucky to hold a giveaway again, you’ll tune in. So now it’s on to the reviews and if you’ve read this far, thanks for hanging in there and taking a moment to check out my blog, it’s very much appreciated!

A Review of Where The Wild Things Bite by Molly Harper

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I know that every time I read a book by Molly, I know I’m in for a hilarious treat. I love her books which all have humor and usually some supernatural character tossed in and wait eagerly for her to release books when I find out there’s more on the way.
This particular story was a joy to read especially since the main character is a bookworm who specializes in rare book collections which is something that fascinates me though alas I don’t work in that field but I’m glad I was able to get a glimpse into life as a rare book expert. Well apart from the supernatural aspect and having to jump from a plane.

Anna just wants to safety deliver a special book to Jane in Half Moon Hollow and return to her quiet life in Virginia where she doesn’t have to deal with people other than her best friend and stay in her own germaphobic bubble. She also finds it easier to avoid her overbearing Mother especially since they live apart in different states which is better for her sanity. Life and a determined group of shifters after the special book have other ideas about her fear of lots of people, weird situations and germs.
In the space of twenty four hours she finds herself dealing with a crazy pilot, being forcefully carried out of a plane still in the air with just her purse with the special book, sky diving out of a plane about to crash by a vampire named Finn and being in the wilderness of Kentucky with no clue how to get to civilization. It’s enough to make a regular woman go mad, let alone someone who makes it a point to follow a certain schedule and expecting the worst though she certainly wasn’t expecting this kind of worse case scenario.
Over the next five days, Anna learns to toughen up, speak her mind, somewhat defend herself including shoving her finger into a chimera’s eye and realize that maybe staying in her germaphobic bubble isn’t quite where she wants to be. Sometimes when you’re at your lowest is when you realize just what you’re capable of and if you’re lucky enough, prove to the naysayers how wrong they were to doubt. 

I think Anna and I would get along great at least in the sense of talking about books and hopefully getting a chance to check out her rare books collection. She’s very smart, not afraid to speak her mind to Finn, generous, socially awkward and passionate about her love of reading. She has had to deal with a lot of disappointment particularly in the last few years but thankfully with the help of her best friend, has managed to continue a career that involves her love of books though not in the way she had hoped. I’m so glad that she eventually gets her chance to kick the butt of the guy who hurt her and finds a common friend in Jane Jameson.

Finn is quite the mysterious vampire at times and it took me a bit to figure out his motives. He was turned back in the 1960’s after a deal that went wrong which involved some vampires and he’s been having to repay people that he owes since then. He rescues Anna from a plane that’s about to crash, nearly burns to a crisp when rescuing her from people who want the book that Anna carries, baffled that Anna doesn’t seem to be affected by his charm and yet is drawn to her at the same time. Finn has quite a few secrets that he’s reluctant to share, seems to not want to have dealings with Jane Jameson and one of them may just send Anna back to her germophobic bubble.
Full of adventure, laugh out loud scenes, a bit of steamy romance, the power of friendship with an interesting mix of vampires,  a large group of redneck shapeshifters and twists.

After reading this book, I’ve realized that I need to go back and read from the beginning of this particular series. I was able to follow along just fine in this book without reading from the beginning but I’m really curious about some of the characters mentioned and how they came to Half Moon Hollow. Also, I’d like to go back and read about Jenna Jameson as I can only remember reading the first book. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book and to find out what else is in store for the Half Moon Hollow Residents!

A Review of A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

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I haven’t read a lot of adventure/mysteries over the years which is a shame but I’m glad to have read this book which has been a fascinating mixture of mystery, humor, adventure, a very smart and feisty heroine, a grumpy but caring hero and lots of surprises.

Veronica Speedwell hasn’t stayed in one spot for very long since she was a little girl. Raised by two eccentric Aunts who rescued her from an orphanage, she’s moved with them all over England and seen much of the world. When she became an adult, she chose to become a butterfly hunter, dallied with men in certain areas of the globe and generally led a fairly independent life, coming back to England to see her two spinster Aunts. She comes back to England to nurse one of her beloved Aunts and then just a short time later, returns again to help remaining Aunt who had a fit of apoplexy and then passes away.

Most women would probably decide to settle down and live a quiet life but Veronica has other ideas. Choosing to ignore the offer of becoming a wife and mother to six unruly children that came from the nosy vicar’s wife the day Veronica buries her Aunt, she heads home to grab her single valise and has plans to go on another adventure. She interrupts what she thinks is a thief trying to steal something from her temporary home and is rescued by an engaging German Baron who seems to know a bit about her and who her mysterious parents were. Compelled to ride with him to London as she was going that way anyways, she hopes to learn at least about her mother and curious about the secrecy.

Convinced to spend the evening in the company of a bad-tempered historian named Stoker who owes the Baron a favor, he leaves on an errand with promises to reveal a number of things in time. Alas, Veronica’s parentage is not to be so easily found out.

Stoker finds himself watching over Veronica for longer than a night when his friend and Mentor is sadly found dead less than two days later. Fate is about to toss Stoker and Veronica a curve ball that could very well change the way of life for a number of different people and give insight into the mysterious beginnings of Veronica, that is if they could figure out who is trying to keep them quiet.
These two unlikely people are tossed together in a plot that will leave them reeling, scrambling to stay safe in a number of interesting places including pretending to be a married couple in a Circus and wondering who to trust.

I adore Veronica who is constantly full of surprises, very smart, practical, adventure- seeking and strong with touches of vulnerability as most people are. Traveling since she was a child has certainly given her an open-minded view on a number of different things. She’s not afraid to go toe to toe with Stoker even when he’s in more of a bad mood than usual and is certainly no timid young woman. She’s very funny too and quick to speak her mind. In a sense, she reminds me of a female Sherlock Holmes with a unique twist.

Stoker is full of surprises, including what his full name really is, smart, often bad tempered, a gentleman, full of secrets and protective. He’s not quite sure what to make of Veronica at times especially that she’s quick to match him in wit and is driven to want to know who killed his friend. In the beginning he is very short tempered with Veronica but eventually softens a bit and soon realizes that he’s rather fond of Veronica despite some of her outlandish views. The poor guy has been through a lot especially in the last decade and it’s changed him a lot from the man that he used to be. Stoker was once a renowned physician until a scandal arose after an expedition he led out of the country and cut ties with most of the people that he knew as a result. He’s for sure a guy that you’d want at your side, that is if you don’t mind his grumpiness.

I laughed my way through most of the book  especially with the commentary between Veronica and Stoker and was on the edge of my seat for the last half, wanting to know how things would turn out with the ending leaving me rather shocked. It’s amazing what two people can accomplish when they have a mind to do something and that sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

I can’t wait to read more about Stoker and Veronica and so glad the next book has been recently released. I highly recommend this book even if you’re like me and don’t usually read mysteries. You may change your mind after you close the book!

A Review of Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

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I received this book in exchange for an honest review and I’d like to first say wow!
I was so excited to get my hands on this book and I couldn’t put this book down until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Yes, it was just that good!
Phoebe is a high school Junior who is more comfortable with her nose stuck in a book, shooting a bow, playing a flute, knitting or teaching others to knit at a local knitting shop than trying to be a social butterfly or attempt to date. She’s like a mini me when I was in high school minus the knitting! She’s such a devoted bookworm and I love that she’s so much into books including rereading certain books especially when there’s another release in a series or just for the fun of it, visiting bookstores for fun, going to author signings, dressing up as favorite bookish characters and her love of shooting a bow actually came from a book character.
Her best friend Em  who doesn’t care for books, is passionate about being an actress, enjoys being around Phoebe despite her tendency to bring a book everywhere she goes (that’s what I do!) and loves playing matchmaker decides to try to get Phoebe together with Dev who has always been just a friend. Em is well meaning but things don’t go quite as planned which is often the case when trying to get two people together who are both on the shy side.
Phoebe is very reluctant at first because she has never attempted to try to date someone, is more interested in a jock who doesn’t even seem to know she exists and mostly just wants to tackle her to be read list pile which seems to be growing in leaps and bounds.
Dev is an easy going guy who loves acting, hanging out with friends, is very smart, occasionally teases Phoebe about her books, is rather cute, a fellow band member, an interesting sense of humor and seems to have always just been around. There is more to Dev than meets the eye, including having family from India where his Uncle asks him to briefly be a part of a Bollywood movie and he’s full of surprises. I think Dev has been crushing on Phoebe for a while but has been hesitant to speak up because he’s not sure how she feels.
When Phoebe decides to attempt to get Dev’s notice after Em’s nudging, she decides to take notes from some of her favorite book characters. She’s not sure how to react when Dev seems to want to hang around more including bringing her food while she waits in line to get her book and bow signed by one of her favorite authors, invites her out to eat with some of his other friends, gets her to take part in a flash mob dance just before homecoming and even asks if she’ll knit him something by asking of he’s “Knit- Worthy”. Just as she’s starting to wonder if maybe Dev and her could be more than friends, something happens that causes Phoebe to shy away and she retreats back into her world of books and knitting.
Phoebe will soon see that sometimes taking cues from fictional books doesn’t always go as planned, the importance of taking a leap of faith, the amazing power of supportive friends, not jumping to conclusions and realizing that sometimes the best person to be is just yourself. What ensues turns out a lot more different than she’d planned and she starts see that it will take more than book advice to figure things out about herself and if Dev may be the person who’s been right for her all along.
Phoebe and Dev really are quite the interesting pair though both seem reluctant to come right out and admit their feelings which makes sense considering they’ve been friends for a long time and both are at an interesting point in their lives. I love how Dev isn’t bothered by Phoebe’s love of reading despite his teasing and genuinely wants to get to know her. He even asks Phoebe for book recommendations, texts her during a Thanksgiving and is very happy to receive Phoebe’s interesting knitting gift.
Just when it seems as though these two are about to go their separate ways, they are tossed together to help mentor elementary kids for a week at a camp as co counselors and Phoebe wonders if she was to hasty in her decision about Dev. Fate seems to be determined to find a way for these two unlikely people to get over their shyness and be honest, even if the outcome may not be what they had hoped for.

Full of humor, adventures with books involved, the power of believing in yourself, friendship, and taking a leap of faith. I’m so glad the ending turned out as it did and hopefully I’ll read more about Phoebe in the future and just may add even more books to my current to be read list pile!

So that concludes my triple review post and my bookish ramblings. I am over halfway done with the current book I’m reading and have lots of other books on my list so there will be more posts coming up soon. I’m really looking forward to tackling my goal of reading eighty books, reading books by authors that I already know and getting to know new ones. There’s so many books being released this year that I can’t wait to get my hands on and the new bookish adventures I shall go on.
Thank you once again for tuning in and I hope you’ve enjoyed this post despite it being much longer than usual. Your support means a lot to me and I hope that I’ve added a bit to your own TBR list. Reading is such a wonderful thing and can take you on endless adventures usually from the comfort of your favorite chair. May books bring you comfort during good times and bad and grow your love of reading or be inspired to pick up a book. If you’re not a fan of reading, that’s okay too and know that you’re still among friends. I’ll be back soon.
Slainte
~Meg

 

A Review of Lady of the Lakes: The True Love Story of Sir Walter Scott

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Good afternoon,

I would like to first mention that I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
I was so excited to get this book because I knew it would be a great read which it was and very hard to put down. I don’t know much about Sir Scott from history but after reading this book, I want to understand and hopefully read his literary works especially poetry.

Not knowing much about Sir Scott was actually a good thing because then I was pleasantly surprised about the details of his life and his heartbreak though reading about it brought tears to my eyes. He was a man who felt deeply and often had his heart on his sleeve which is what made him such a great literary figure. I loved reading quotes about some of the things that he penned while reading about some of the details that could have happened which were woven into what really happened. Just from a few of the quotes that were in the book, I got the feeling that he was a man who was loyal not only to family and country but to friends and following his heart in terms of writing.

He met Williamina (Mina) one day after a church service when he was in his early twenties and she was not even eighteen. They started to develop feelings for each other and spent time together when they could as well as writing letters when away. She came from a family that was well off while Walter came from a family that was considered the working class. It didn’t matter to him that they were from different classes and he tried hard to prove to Mina that he could be a good husband to her and take care of her. It would seem that fate had other plans as Mina found herself falling for a man that her parents approved of and instead of telling Walter in a letter, he was blindsided by things after receiving an invitation from Mina’s father.

Though his heart was broken by a girl who didn’t seem to know what she wanted, was more concerned about pleasing her parents, was on the spoiled side and very young, that experience was fodder for his determination to do something different with his life and try to find things to distract from the heartache. Mina did not mean to break his heart but she could have handled things better and tried to let him down a little more gentler than she did. She did mean well in her own way though it backfired once Sir Scott found out that her heart was no longer with him. That heartache did inspire him to do more of his life and in a way, guided him towards his future wife Charlotte Carpenter.

I really liked the portrayal of Charlotte and how different she was compared to Mina. She came from France, was sent to be under the guardianship of Lord Downshire, had an older brother named Charles and became an orphan at a young age when her parents died. She realized that she was tired of being under the thumb of someone who meant well but also had his own family to see to. In the book she was a woman who had realized that she may not find a husband and chose to work towards her independence and just happened to meet Walter when she was on her way to becoming a truly independent woman. I’m so glad though that she gave Walter a chance and chose to take a leap of faith.

There were so many thoughtful points in this book that I found myself highlighting on my Kindle so I could go back and look at them later. Kilpack is a wonderful writer and I’m looking forward to reading more by her.

Well the concludes my bookish ramblings for this post. I’ve been distracted by work and other books but wanted to rave about this wonderful book. I’ve been inspired to want to read everything by Walter Scott and hopefully get a better insight into his life. It’s amazing how sometimes reading a fictional book about a historical character can inspire me sometimes to try to get to know the real person.

Thank you so much for tuning in and be sure to stop back again soon where my bookish ramblings will get out of hand but also hopefully be amusing.

Slainte

~M

A Review of Wild Wicked Scot

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Good Sunday Evening,

It’s a new year and I have a lot of plans for it particularly in the reading area. Last year I was six books short of my seventy five reading goal and this year I hope to go past it by at least five books. I also plan to try to keep up with blogging more and not overloading myself with too many books to read at once. We shall see how the last goal goes and for now, I’m going to talk about a book that I just finished and gush a bit about the author too.

Julia London has a way with words that always draws me in especially when it’s a book about the Scots. I love imagining seeing Scotland in all her glory when there were endless blue skies, fragrant heather and horses were the main way to get around.
Margot is a young spoiled English lady who is used to balls, fancy gowns and generally living a life of luxury. In the space of a month, she finds herself married to Arran who is Laird of Clan McKenzie and lives up in the Highlands where there aren’t fancy balls, many wear plaids and life is quite a bit different than what she’s used to.
After being fed up with how things are going, she leaves with her things and Arran has to watch her go in a coach while most of his clan is watching. Margot spends the next few years going back to balls, wearing gowns and doing most of the things she did before her marriage though it all seems empty at times. Her father pulls her aside one evening and says she must return to Scotland to find out whether her estranged husband is a traitor to the crown and though she is reluctant, when she learns that her Father could possibly hang if it’s true, she agrees to go. Little does she know how much it will change her view of things including her feelings for her estranged husband and show her how sometimes age can put a different perspective on a situation.

As Margot tries to learn of the truth, she finds herself drawn to her husband, realizing how naive she was as a young bride, the misunderstandings she had with some of the clan and that things aren’t always what they seem. While there’s no problem for her and Arran in the bedroom, trying to move past hurts and understand each other is another matter entirely. Just when it seems like things are slowly falling into place and Margot realizes that her husband is an honorable man, word comes to Arran about a spy in their midst and it rocks the foundation of their relationship. There’s also another twist that comes about that will leave Margot reeling and wondering which path to take in such difficult times.

Margot did start out in the book as a spoiled young girl who seems only concerned about the next ball or suitor to flirt with and makes some bad choices when it comes to the marriage that she was forced into. I liked her character though even when she wasn’t aware of the world outside her bubble because as Margot ages, her view on things change quite a bit. As she finds herself back with her husband and his clan, she’s under a lot of pressured but tries to make the best of it and refuses to back down on most things. They often say that with age comes wisdom and I think it’s very true in this case. Where she used to pout and generally throw a fit if things didn’t go her way, she tries to stand up for herself and communicate with her husband while also realizing just how different she felt about things when they were first married. Margot has her faults as any person does but eventually she realizes what is really important and embraces her husband’s side of the family.

I also like Arran because he took their marriage vows seriously and did not stray even when they were estranged. It’s understandable that he’d be leery of her showing up out of the blue and also wondering what his wife is really up to. He may be a traditional Scots in many ways but he also tries to communicate with his wife and deal with the every day things that come with being a laird. In his own way, he’s a romantic and eventually realizes that sometimes you have to let some of the things in the past rest and sometimes giving someone another chance can turn out better than expected.

It was such a pleasure to read this book and I found myself sitting in one spot for hours, wanting to know what would happen next. This book was an interesting mix of adventure, romance, passion, the power of family and unexpected twists. Also, I loved the fact that Margot eventually didn’t mind having the dogs sleep in the bed with her. I am eager to get my hands on the next book in the series and seeing what next will happen with the McKenzie Clan!

I’m really hoping to stay on task and be more serious about being a book blogger. In the past it’s been sporadic especially this past year after taking on a second job but I’ve realized that I can be just as passionate about book blogging as I am reading and just need to find a way to juggle things. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my bookish ramblings and I will be back soon with more to come. I have quite the long reading list to get through and since it’s one of the coldest months of the year, a perfect reason to stay in with my books!

Slainte

~M