Category: Historical


From Amazon’s Website

The Legend begins…

For centuries, stories of the Fae have been passed down from generation to generation throughout the Scottish Highlands. Over time, the truth of their existence was reduced to nothing more than childhood fairytales. Until now! On the eve of war between Good and Evil, Ella of Andor, the Fae Princess of Darkness embarks on a journey that would ensure her kingdom’s victory as prophesied. But in a twist of fate, Ella is led to the mortal world where she soon discovers a mystery about her past that could destroy everything she has ever known.

After returning home from battle against a neighboring clan, Laird Galen Graham stumbles upon an injured woman in desperate need of care and protection. Wanting to return her to her family becomes a difficult task when he discovers the lass cannot speak. While trying to solve the mystery behind who she is, Galen finds himself falling in love with a lass he knows nothing about.

Forced to return to the Fae world, can Ella stop the war threatening to destroy her kingdom, or will she give up her destiny to return to the man she has fallen for in the mortal world? After discovering the truth about the mysterious lass, will Galen be able to let her go?

Follow Ella and Galen’s fantastic journey filled with magic, danger, love, and mystery.

My Review:

Oh, where to start. In general the writing was good, as well as the character development. But this story had many issues. So many in fact that I almost quit reading the story multiple times. I did finish the book, but it was painful.

There are two sides to this story. There is the Fae realm and 15th Century Scotland. The Fae Realm was nicely created and well rounded. I could easily see the land and the creatures that were described. The history of the land was interesting and the author does a good job in making the reader want to stay in this realm and discover what happens to the people of it.

Then we get to the 15th Century Scotland. The number of items incorrect drove me nuts. I will admit that Scottish History is a big interest of mine and has been for a very long time. I usually don’t mind dialect in stories, but I felt that it was over used. There was at least one time where the author used the words dinna and no in the same sentence, causing the sentence to have a double negative.

The author also tended to use words that are not in common use and for one, the context wasn’t correct. At one point Galen tells his second to impose a cheminage for those who crossed his border. Cheminage is a fee traditionally applied to people taking items to market through a forest that is owned by a Lord. Very few clans would be able to man their entire border to collect this fee. The amount of money they would make compared to the man power needed makes it ridiculous. The economy of the Highlands in the 15th Century was still primarily barter based and due to poor roads, trade with others was not widely done. Trade and coins were common in strong economic centers like Perth, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, etc. The average person wouldn’t be carrying coin, therefore making the cheminage unrealistic.

Much to my surprise, we discover that the clan blacksmith and the clan healer lived ten miles from the clan seat. Why would you put these two very important people so far from the center of the clan? Typically both of these people would either live within the castle walls or just outside the walls. The average person walks at the speed of three miles per hour, and a walking horse averages four to five miles per hour, a distance of ten miles would not be covered at a trot or faster pace. At these speed averages, it would take people two and half to three and half hours to cover ten miles. No intelligent Laird would have these people so far from the largest grouping of clan members. Later in the story we discover that the armory is nine miles from the castle. Why isn’t within the castle walls?

At one point, Galen is planning on going to Stonehaven to visit the market because the trade ships would have come in that day or the day before. The author lets the readers know that Stonehaven is two hours from the castle. There are a few issues with this. First, the Laird would not have left to do the marketing. He would have a man who would do that and only a few times a year. By stating that Stonehaven is only two hours away, the author has stated that Stonehaven is closer than the clan blacksmith or healer. In the 15th Century, Stonehaven was a fishing village. It was never a trading port. The closest trading port was actually Aberdeen, which is north of Stonehaven. Even now, Stonehaven is still a fishing village but also relies on tourism for income. Then there is the name issue. Stonehaven did not get its name until the start of the 17th century. Stonehaven and much of the land around it was Clan Keith land. Another reason this whole scenario wouldn’t work is that trade ships wouldn’t attempt the North Sea in the winter. The sea is too treacherous.

When the author finally gave us a general idea where in Scotland the story was taking place, I discovered that the story is taking place over a hundred miles from where the author really wanted. Stonehaven is on the eastern coast of Scotland. During the story we learn that Galen’s clan Graham was having a feud with Clan MacGregor, and Galen was trying to forge an alliance with Clan Campbell and their Laird the Duke of Argyll. These clans never had land along the eastern coast of Scotland. For the most part, their lands were northwest of Glasgow, approximately a hundred miles from Stonehaven.

Imagine my surprise when I read the author biography at the end of the story and discovered that she has written three other Scottish Historicals.

I found that the relationship between Galen and Ella very platonic. Yes, Galen lusted after Ella but I never really felt that these characters fell for each other. The sex scene was not necessary to this story. It didn’t move forward the story or their relationship. It felt like the author went, “Wait, this is romance. It must have sex.” This story would have been just fine without the sex, especially since I feel that the characters didn’t have mutual desire for each other.

The end of the story was very abrupt. There were things not resolved in the Fae realm. How can Ella take the Queen’s offer and leave the Fae realm without completing a task she had set for herself? The author could have extended the story by having Ella and Galen working together. Even if they failed at the task, it would give a level of closure. Instead, Ella didn’t pursue the task and left it for others who looked to her for leadership. I realize that the author wanted to keep the task unfulfilled so she can have a series, but there should have been an attempt.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I give Legend of the Fae a 2 Horseshoe rating.

Legend of the Fae is available from Amazon in Kindle and Print editions.

Publication Details:

Author April Holthouse
Title Legend of the Fae
Format Ebook
Length 236
Publication Date March 2015
Publisher Self Published Through Amazon
ISBN 978-1-5077-6137-3
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From Back Cover

IN THE WRONG PLACE

Roberta didn’t mean to hurt anyone. But the night that masked bandits raided her ranch, it was hard to tell friend from foe. She didn’t know Nate Dolan was only trying to help when she shot him in the leg. And when he offers to help her catch the culprits, she only feels guiltier. The absolute least she can do is nurse the rugged cowboy back to health…

WITH ALL THE RIGHT MOVES

Nate has been on the vengeance trail so long, he nearly forgot what a real home looked like. And Roberta is a mighty fine incentive to stay put for a while – even if she has a stubborn streak as wide as the great state of Texas. She might be convinced she’s healing the wound in his leg, but neither of them knows she’s also soothing the hurt in his heart.

My Review:

This was a fun, sweet, historical western romance. It has been a long time since I last read a Leigh Greenwood book. He still has the romantic touch that many readers expect.

This story is part of Mr. Greenwood’s Night Riders series. The Night Riders were a group of Confederate raiders, the original special ops. This story takes place in 1873, approximately 8 years after the Civil War, in South Texas where the Night Riders settled.

Mr. Greenwood has created two stubborn main characters whose banter was fun to read. The setting was amazingly authentic. You could almost believe you were able to visit that small town in the middle of nowhere Texas. He also created characters you would find in modern small towns. The realism he brings to the story shows how much research he put in to this story.

The suspense of who killed Roberta’s father lead to an interesting and fast paced story. Then you throw in the villain that Nate has been tracking since the end of the war, the one that Nate and the other Night Rider’s need revenge against. You have a story that parts of it will leave you sitting at the edge of your seat.

I did come across something that did bother me. At one point, while caring for Nate, Roberta makes him rice pudding. I was very surprised by the availability of rice in Texas in the late 1800s. After not being able to find anything about when rice was available in Texas, I asked Twitter. Someone pointed out that the Carolinas have had rice since almost the 1600s, possibly brought to the “New World” by Spanish Conquistadors. We hypothesized that after the Civil War, it was possible that those who fled the Carolinas for land out west might have taken rice seed stock with them. When I’m reading a book and something doesn’t seem right, it jerks me out of the story and then I start worrying about that one piece of information. When I get jerked out of the story, it diminishes the enjoyment of the book for me.

I give Heart of a Texan a 4 Horseshoe rating.

Heart of a Texan is available from Amazon Print and in Kindle editions.

Publication Details:

Author Leigh Greenwood
Title Heart of a Texan
Format Print
Length 353 Pages
Publication Date November 2012
Publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 978-1-4022-6399-6

From Publisher’s Website

A HEATED RIVALRY…

Morrigan McNab is a Highland lady, robbed of her birthright and with no choice but to fight alongside her brothers to protect their impoverished clan. When she encounters Sir Jacques Dragonet, she discovers her fiercest opponent…

IS GETTING EVEN HOTTER…

Sir Jacques Dragonet will give his life to defend Scotland from the English. He can’t stop himself from admiring the beautiful Highland lass who wields her weapons as skillfully as he does, and endangers his heart even more than his life…

My Review:

True Highland Spirit follows a character readers were introduced to in The Highlander’s Heart. In that book, Morrigan was very much the Anti-Hero. I was a little worried about when I found out she would be the star of her own book. But Ms. Forester did a wonderful job of making sure Morrigan had redeeming qualities.

Morrigan wants to help her clan regain its pride and financial stability. But both are harder than Morrigan and her brothers ever expected. They impersonate highway men to get the money needed to care for their clan, as well as having to deal with a mysterious bishop who demands they perform specific deeds. With both of her brothers gone from the clan seat, Morrigan is left to defend and provide for her clan.

She is approached by Sir Dragonet, who wanders the country to check individual clans’ loyalty to the King of Scotland and to Scottish freedom from England. Morrigan leads her men in to battle against the English to prove their loyalty, but at the same time Morrigan is loses her heart to the French knight.

Jacques and Morrigan are truly a great pair. He admires and understands her need to fight with and for her clan. She admires his need to make a better life for himself by helping the Scottish cause.

I enjoyed this book, especially Morrigan’s journey from being resigned to a life as a warrior Maiden to falling in love.

I give True Highland Spirit a 4 Horseshoe rating.

True Highland Spirit is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions.

Publication Details:

Author Amanda Forester
Title True Highland Spirit
Format Print
Length 416 Pages
Publication Date March 2012
Publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 978-1-4022-5307-2

From Publisher’s Website

HE’LL NEVER SETTLE FOR ONE WOMAN…

Debonair bachelor Lord Andrew Forest lives for pleasure and offers no apologies. But he receives a dose of his own medicine when his family’s entrancing houseguest beds him, then disappears without so much as a by-your-leave. He’d like to teach the little vixen a thing or two about how to love and man…if he can find her…

AND SHE WON’T SETTLE FOR HEARTBREAK…

After the dashing man of her dreams is revealed as a lying scoundrel, heiress Lana Hilary is ready to seek a match with a respectable gentleman—if only they weren’t so dreadfully boring. Unable to rein in her bold nature for long, Lana flirts with trouble and finds herself entangled with exactly the type of man she’s vowed to avoid.

My Review:

After I received my ARC of this book, the title was changed from The Ruination of a Rake to Miss Hilary Schools a Scoundrel. I forgot about this change and when I was looking for the book cover image and such I couldn’t find it! However, both titles work well for this book.

I greatly enjoyed this book. Ms. Grace did a wonderful job bringing the Regency to life in her debut novel. The characters are fun and witty, especially Lana Hilary. I loved banter between Lana and Drew. They complimented each other very nicely. Part of me wished that the story continued between these characters, but I feel that Ms. Grace ended the story where it needed to.

I give Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel a 5 Horseshoe rating.

Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel is available from Amazon Print and Kindle editions.

Publication Details:

Author Samantha Grace
Title Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel
Format Print
Length 416 Pages
Publication Date February 2012
Publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 978-1-4022-5831-2

From Publisher’s Website

BASTARD ROYAL DAUGHTER, PAWN IN A DEADLY GAME

Sent to Scotland to be the king’s mistress and produce an heir, Clarrisa of York has never needed a miracle more. But the brusque Highland laird who kidnaps her is a bit too rough to be considered divine intervention.

HE’LL DO ANYTHING TO THWART HIS KING

With rival lairds determined to steal Clarrisa from him and royal henchmen searching for her all over the Highlands, Laird Broen MacNicols has a mess on his hands. Worse yet, there’s a magnetic attraction between them, although he’s betrothed to another. But even an independent–minded lady like Clarrisa knows that a Highlander always claims his prize…

My Review:

I enjoyed this book. It was a fun Scottish Historical that follows a commonly used trope in these books, stealing of a bride by a Highland Laird. While I feel that this trope is overly used, Ms. Wine did a nice job of making it fresh.

I liked how Clarrisa was a strong independent character, with a strong mind. She was very intelligent and figured out ways to protect herself. I, also, liked that Broen acknowledged her intelligence. He wasn’t a dominating alpha male who dictated how Clarrisa should behavior. Broen did have alpha male tendencies but he knew when to use them and when to hide them.

I hope there will be a book following one of the minor characters who made it possible for Broen and Clarrisa to have their happily ever after. I’m not going to mention the character by name because I don’t want to spoil the story.

I give Highlander’s Prize a 4 Horseshoe rating.

Highlander’s Prize is available from Amazon Print and Kindle editions.

Publication Details:

Author Mary Wine
Title Highlander’s Prize
Format Print
Length 352 Pages
Publication Date April 2012
Publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 978-1-4022-6471-9

From Publisher’s Website

Fleeing into the wilderness to escape an abusive marriage, Lady Isabelle Tynsdale would sooner face down a wild boar than spend another night with her wretched husband. Battered by the elements, desperate to elude a band of attackers, and defending herself against, as fate would have it, a wild boar she is rescued by the handsome Laird David Campbell.

Campbell knows holding Isabelle captive for ransom is his best chance to temper the storm threatening to destroy his clan. The ransom of an English countess should be more than enough to pay off his debts to England and save him from an unwanted marriage. But Isabelle didn’t escape her husband just to become another man’s captive and Laird Campbell is seriously misguided if he thinks she’s going to go quietly.

My Review:

One of my favorite genres to read, other than Contemporary Western Romance, is Historical Romance. Especially Scottish Historical Romance. Scottish history has fascinated me almost as long as horses have. I was very impressed with Ms. Forester’s knowledge of 1350’s Scottish and British History and her ability to convey it during the story.

The characters were well created and one could easily believe that they lived and breathed during those difficult years of political turmoil in Scotland and on the border between Scotland and England. David stole my heart in his very first scene. He will never take the place of my favorite Highlander, but he is high up on my list.

I did find my self occasionally getting annoyed with Isabelle. Her lack of common sense about things drove me nuts. If a guy is chasing your attacker in to the fog, don’t follow them. Sit your butt down and wait for him to return or the fog lifts.

A problem with Advanced Reader Copies, is that you don’t know if repeated information has been removed. When ever Isabelle considers prayer, the reader is told how she really doesn’t believe in it. This was repeated over and over. I hope that the printed edition doesn’t have this repetition.

There was a few minor things in the story that bothered me. One was how the author waited until almost the end of the book to name the English King, and even then she only called him King Edward, not King Edward III. Through out the book he was strictly referred to as the English King.

The other issue was a historical time line. It bugged me enough to dig through my Scottish history books. The story takes place in 1355 and there is a discussion between two characters about a rumor that the captured King David II was negotiating his release by offering the throne of Scotland to King Edward III’s son John of Gaunt. According to history, in 1352 King David II was paroled and attended a parliament meeting in Scotland. At that meeting, he gave them the terms of his release, which required the Scots to declare Prince John of Gaunt as the next King of Scotland. The Scots turned it down. In 1354, a ransom of 90,000 Scottish merks to paid over nine years was agreed upon. The paying of the ransom and the offering of the Scottish throne to England play important roles in this story. The time line mistake was very minor and most people would never notice.

Even with the minor issues, I did greatly enjoy this book and look forward to the next one. Might even need to look up the first one as well.

I give The Highlander’s Heart a 4 Horseshoe rating!

The Highlander’s Heart is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions. Also from Barnes and Noble in Print and Nook.

Publication Details:

Author Amanda Forester
Title The Highlander’s Heart
Format Print
Length 448 Pages
Publication Date November 2011
Publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 978-1-4022-5304-1

From Amazon

An Irish lass. An English lord. A love that overcomes all boundaries.

August Grayson has secretly dreamt of the girl living on his family’s Irish estate since childhoods spent together in Killarney. Now a proper Lord of the British Empire, he knows that Maeve could never be more than just a distant fantasy. Still, if only…

Maeve O’Connor owns nothing in this world but her good name, which proves just enough to win a proposal for a marriage of convenience to a good, Irish lad. Until the wedding, however, she’s in dire straits. Rent on the cottage she and her father share is due, but there simply isn’t the money to pay. Driven to desperation, Maeve hopes Lord Grayson, childhood chum turned dashing English rogue, will prove lenient when she comes seeking clemency.

The temptation presented proves too much, and August offers Maeve a compromise: should she permit him twice as long on each succeeding visit to do whatever he wishes in pursuit of his pleasure, he will consider her rent paid. Starting with a mere five seconds, pulses soon out race the ticking clock, as August’s desires become Maeve’s own. Passion blinds them to the challenges closing in on both the Irish and English fronts, threatening to destroy the love they’ve only just rediscovered.

Working to bridge that which divides them, tempting fate with each stolen kiss, and torn between desire and obligation, Maeve and August must strive to overcome all and find a love by any measure…

My Review:

When Killian asked me to review A Love By Any Measure, I was very excited. I loved her debut book, 12.21.12. Unfortunately, this one fell a little short of her debut novel.

The story premise and the characters were enjoyable. However, I felt that the book didn’t flow smoothly after a certain point.

The first 21 chapters of the book takes place during 1866. Then all of the sudden it jumps ahead to 1872. The only time the reader is told that the first part is in 1866 is the beginning of chapter one, so by the time you get to chapter 22 you don’t remember what year it is. The author should have included on the header for chapter 22 that it was 6 years later.

From chapter 22 to chapter 39, was jarring swaps between the two time lines. The transitions were not smooth.

I love when an author makes me look up words because I don’t know them. However, with the frequency of large and uncommon words used in this story, I can easily see some readers getting discouraged.

Overlooking the lack of time line transitions, I feel that Killian told a beautiful tale with strong, well thought out characters. I believe that with a little more beta reading and editing, this book would have been amazing.

I give A Love By Any Measure a 4 Horseshoe rating!

A Love By Any Measure is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions.

Publication Details:

Author Killian McRae
Title A Love By Any Measure
Format Ebook
Publication Date November 2011
Publisher Tulipe Noire Press
ISBN 978-0-9839-7971-5

From Back Of The Book

IS SHE STEALING… OR JUST HIDING IN DARK CORNERS…

The Earl of Dunraven is obsessed with catching the thief who stole a priceless heirloom from him. When he keeps running into London newcomer Millicent Blair in places she shouldn’t be, his suspicions aren’t the only thing aroused…

But Millicent’s real secret is a far cry from what the earl thinks – and would horrify him much more if he knew. Yet, every encounter increases the attraction between the powerful earl and the lovely, intelligent, and feisty Miss Blair…

Welcome to the sparkling Regency world of Amelia Grey, where the gossip is fresh and a new scandal is always brewing.

My Review:

Amelia Grey brought Regency London (1811-1820s) and the Ton to life in this fun, lighthearted novel. The pace was lively and well done.

Ms. Grey did a wonderful job with the character development. I instantly fell in love with Millicent. Every time the earl started questioning her, I would tell her to stay strong and not give away her secret. Then he would kiss her. A wonderful kisser will make any steadfast woman forget herself. I also enjoyed Lady Beatrice and the earl.

The relationship between Millicent and the earl was enjoyable to watch. The earl’s sneaking around like a young man to see Millicent in secret, and his watching her for her at the balls was swoon worthy.

The mystery of who stole the priceless heirloom was masterfully weaved in to this beautiful romance. You will be shocked at who was the thief!

I give A Dash Of Scandal a 4 Horseshoe rating!

A Dash Of Scandal is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions. Also from Barnes and Noble in Print and Nook editions.

Publication Details:

Author Amelia Grey
Title A Dash Of Scandal
Format Print
Length 315
Publication Date October 2011
Publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 978-1-4022-3979-3

From Back Of The Book

A MAIDEN WHO WILL NOT MARRY

For the lovely Lady Audris, taking a husband would mean losing her home. She is content to concentrate on her special gift, weaving gorgeous tapestries that often contain hints of the future. But nothing predicts the arrival of Hugh Licorne, confident in his strength and single-minded in his determination – to have her.

A BATTLE-HARDENED KNIGHT WHO NEEDS A BRIDE

From the moment Hugh sets eyes on Lady Audris, he knows he has found the woman destined to be his wife. She’s courageous and beautiful, delicate yet strong. But winning her trust and defending her from her enemies will be the greatest battle he has ever faced.

My Review:

Just like Demoiselle Audris does with her gift, Roberta Gellis has weaved a beautiful historically accurate tale with a sweet love story intertwined within it. The story takes place during a time of English and Scottish history that is full of contradictory documentations of events that took place. This story takes place between 1136 and 1138 along Hadrian’s Wall.

The back of the book description is a little misleading. Hugh did not develop his determination to have Audris until after he was knighted and discovered that Audris shared his affection. Until then Hugh was very well aware that she was above his station and he was not worthy of her. It is obvious from their first meeting that there was an attraction, but both knew that it wasn’t appropriate. I am glad that Ms Gellis maintained that societal constraint of the time.

Not only is the book a beautiful love story, it is a beautifully written story. The author has done an amazing job placing the reader in to the locations of the tale. At one point Audris and Hugh are traveling past a burned village, I swear I could smell the charred wood and flesh that they were exposed to. When Hugh is at the Battle of the Standard, I could feel and understand his disgust at fighting men who were ill-armed or even unarmed. Even the quiet, tranquil parts of the story were beautifully written.

If you are a lover of historical novels or of novels that are well written, I would highly recommend this one. You will not be disappointed.

A Tapestry Of Dreams is a reissue that was originally published in 1985 by Jove Publishing.

I give A Tapestry Of Dreams a 4 Horseshoe rating!!!

A Tapestry Of Dreams is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions and from Barnes and Noble in Print .

Publication Details:

Author Roberta Gellis
Title A Tapestry Of Dreams
Number of Pages 485
Publication Date May 2011
Publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 978-1-4022-5498-7

From Publisher’s Website:

After a brutal Civil War, America is a land divided. As commander of her nation’s border guards, Ever is a warrior sworn to protect her country and her queen. When an airship attacks and kills the monarch, Ever must infiltrate enemy territory to bring home the heir to the throne, and the dirigible Dark Hawk is her fastest way to the Union.

Captain Spencer Pierce just wants to pay off the debt he owes on the Dark Hawk and make a life for himself trading across the border. When the queen’s assassination puts the shipping routes at risk, he finds himself Ever’s reluctant ally.

As they fly into danger, Ever and Spencer must battle not only the enemy but also their growing attraction. She refuses to place her heart before duty, and he has always put the needs of his ship and crew above his own desires. Once the princess is rescued, perhaps they can find love in the Badlands-if death doesn’t find them first…

My Review:

Seleste has definitely shown herself as a strong storyteller with this story. I love her alternate history of the Americas after the Civil War, including the different ways how each region reacts to Ever and her self confidence in herself and her body. Seleste did a wonderful job of showing the pros and cons of the clockwork mechanisms. How important they were for certain tasks but also how they could be used against other people.

The characters in this story were amazing. Their depth of personality and history blew me away. I enjoyed the cast of characters that were found on the Dark Hawk ship. I found myself telling Ever to not judge a book by it’s cover, when she believed that Spencer wasn’t a strong enough leader. Their relationship was an enjoyable journey.

I would love to see off shoot stories about the other characters. I would hope that they all could find their own Happily Ever After. I also hope that there will be more stories from the Badlands. They are a strong Matriarchal society, much like the Amazons, and it takes a strong society to develop in to that. I would love to read about their history and how they came to be the society they are.

If you are new to the world of Steampunk novels, I would recommend this as your first. It is a good one to read to get your “toes” wet in the genre.

I give Badlands a rating of 5 Horseshoes!!

Publication Details:

Author Seleste deLaney
Title Badlands
Format eBook
Publication Date February 28, 2011
Publisher Carina Press
ISBN 978-1-4268-9125-0