In the Warrior’s Bed- McJames #2 – Mary Wine

What a disgusting pig the protagonist was! There is nothing that will make me think differently. He had that total creepy raperish vibe going on. Ick!

Okay, I realize things were way different in early 1600s Scotland and men basically owned women but I’m a 21st century reader who isn’t going to stand for men forcing themselves on a woman no matter how much he thinks a blush equates to wanting to have sex with him.

Cullen meets Bronwyn while riding on the border of their clan’s lands. Their clans are bitter enemies. He flirts with her but she seems not interested in him. When her clansmen ride over a ridge and spots them talking, she gets back up on her horse and he grabs her ass. His balls would have been in his throat if he did that to me.

Throughout the whole book, Cullen couldn’t seem to control his penis. It had control of him. The same was true for Bronwyn. He touched her wrist once and she became horny. What the hell?

It was the way he treated Bronwyn that really had me steaming though. He did some things that were nothing short of abuse, using his power to get his way. And then she would forgive him when he waved his tallywacker around. Man, I hope anyone reading this book knows how wrong that is.

No! I can’t accept it. I don’t want my heroes to resemble a horny creep at the bar who thinks just because you danced with him means he can rub his dick up against you. I want my heroes to know when to stop and respect the meaning of no.

There was actually a good plot going on here with the two clans rivalry and a few other background stories emerging but the book was ruined by the lecherous behavior of the supposed hero.

In Bed with a Stranger – McJames #1 – Mary Wine

I decided to depart from my usual Paranormal Romance and Fantasy genres and read a Scottish Historical Romance. I haven’t read one in years. I have enjoyed Mary Wine’s Historical Romances before so I chose one she wrote.

One of the things I like about Mary Wine is that she blends actual history with the story which makes it a little more realistic. What wasn’t realistic was the plot that was schemed up by the evil mistress.

An earl in England married a noblewoman who gave him a girl child but refused to bed him ever again because she was so afraid of dying in childbirth. He took a leman who gave him many other children. His wife grew bitter and hateful and raised their legitimate child to be spoiled and hateful like her.

The earl spent a lot of time at Court and so did their daughter, Mary. He married her off by proxy to a Scottish earl named Brodick McJames.

Mary was scared to death to have sex or a child ever, especially with a will Scot so she cried to her mother who came up with a scheme. She would send the eldest daughter of the leman in her place. When Anne became pregnant, she would return home to give birth. If it was a boy, Mary would claim it and she could take Anne’s place. The dumb Scot wouldn’t even notice the difference in the two. He could get a leman and Mary would be off the hook for sex.

I rolled my eyes and almost quit reading but I gave into the cheesy ridiculousness and read on. And I liked it!

I’m going to see what other trouble the McJames Clan gets into in the next book.

Mortal Heart – His Fair Assassin #3 – Robin LaFevers

Whoa! This book veered off in a entirely different direction than the first two books of this trilogy. The first two books were about the convent of Saint Mortain in the late 1400s in Brittany. The convent worships one of the Nine old gods before the time of the Catholic Church. They worship Mortain, the god of death and the nuns are called the daughters of Mortain. They are taught to be assassins for their country and for Anne of Brittany who is fighting to keep Brittany independent from France.

The first two books were about two separate assassin’s who were sent out to aid the duchess by the Reverend Mother/Abbess. Each assassin has special gifts like being immune to poison or being able to see and speak to spirits which help them with their jobs. They are actually sired by Mortain himself but other than their gifts, there wasn’t any magic or otherworldy stuff going on.

This book, Annith runs away from the convent to find out the truth about what the Abbess is up to. Annith is the best trained assassin in the convent. She doesn’t have any special gifts but she is better at everything than any of the other girls and even than some of the teachers yet the Abbess keeps sending others out on assignments. And now she wants Annith to become the new seer which will mean she will always be stuck in the convent on the island and never be able to use her skills. It makes no sense.

Here’s where the story took a strange turn. Annith had camped for the night when she heard thundering hooves and hounds. It was hellequins and hellhounds led by a man named Balthazaar. Hellequin are men who have died but are given a chance to redeem themselves by serving Mortain AKA Death by hunting down lost and damned souls to usher them to the Underworld. Balthazaar insists that Annith join them as they are headed in the same direction.

Annith fears that the hellequin are really hunting her because she ran away from the convent so she goes along with them. Balthazaar is very protective of her but also distant.

It all made sense later in the book but the introduction of the hellequin threw me for a bit.

This was my favorite book of the series and I absolutely fell in love with Balthazaar. I wish there were more books or a spin-off series.

Dark Triumph – His Fair Assasin #2 – Robin LaFevers

There is some really dark subject matter in this book for being for Young Adult. There’s incest and pedophilia but in the middle ages that must have been acceptable.

I’m not sure who I hated more in this story, d’Albret or the Reverend Mother. d’Albret is a disgusting human being who kills people for looking wrong at him and who wants to marry the duchess who is twelve years old. Barf! The Reverend Mother is cruel and cold and I just get the feeling that she’s not trustworthy.

Sybella is d’Albret’s daughter and has had to suffer his cruelty to herself and others. She was sent to the convent of Saint Mortain when she was around twelve after a horrible event which made her half mad.

The convent worships Mortain, one of the nine old God’s before the Catholic Church took over. All of the girls who go there are said to be daughters of Mortain mostly because of the manner of their births where they should have died. Most of their mothers died during childbirth. The girls are taught to be assassin’s for Mortain and the country of Brittany.

The Reverend Mother sends Sybella on assignment right back to d’Albret to spy on him since he is a threat to the duchess. Then the Reverend Mother sends a crow with a message for Sybella to help a prisoner escape from the dungeon.

Baron de Waroch aka Beast was taken prisoner by d’Albret who plans to draw and quarter him and then send his dead body parts to the duchess. He is chained and out of his mind from fever from a wound in his leg when Sybella comes to rescue him. How does she plan to get his huge form out of the dungeon.

The author did a fantastic job at recreating history and mixing real characters along with fictional characters with assassin nuns. You would think it would be corny but it is anything but.

Grave Mercy – His Fair Assassin #1 – Robin LaFevers

I’m not really sure what genre this book would fit into with some of its supernatural content but I’m thinking it would be more historical fiction than anything else.

Ismae was never meant to be born. Her mother drank a concoction made by a herbwitch to abort her but instead of killing her, it just scarred her back and she was born anyway. The herbwitch said she was the daughter of Mortain, one of the nine old God’s who are now considered saints under the Christian faith. Mortain is the good of death. Her mother died and she was raised under the abusive hand of her father who tried to marry her off to a pig farmer but when he saw the scars on her back, he panicked.

She was saved by the herbwitch and a priest who still worshipped the old ways. They sent her to a convent where they taught her all the ways of Mortain AKA Death like teaching her to fight and use poisons to become an assassin to serve her country of Brittany.

I love history but had no clue about Brittany or Anne of Brittany until I read this book. It was captivating!

 

The Highlander’s Bride -The McTiernays #1 – Michele Sinclair

This book started out great with the McTiernay brothers traveling through the Lowlands after attending their other brother’s wedding. They are traveling to the Highlands to their home when they find Laurel Cordell, an English woman, who had been beaten and had escaped from the clutches of one of the McTiernay’s enemies, Keith Douglas. Keith had stolen her and tried to force her to marry him but she killed him…she thinks…and escaped.

The brothers had just told a story about the Laird of the MacInnes clan had his granddaughter coming to visit from England; how his daughter had married an English man and how beautiful the daughter was supposed to be. And up pops Laurel but nobody connects her with the story. Laurel did not tell the brothers who she really was. She just let them believe she was English because, apparently, Keith and his father threatened to do harm to her grandfather. I wasn’t clear exactly on what the threat was or why Laurel thought that if she kept quiet about who she was, how she was protecting her grandfather but she planned on traveling with the McTiernays, staying the winter with them and then in the Spring, traveling back to warn her grandfather about the Douglas threat.

Connor McTiernay is a self-professed bachelor because he doesn’t have to marry to make a strong alliance since his clan already was strong and he believes all woman are after is his power. He is instantly attracted to Laurel. Actually, attracted isn’t a strong enough word. I think he was more obsessed like a dog with a bone. He was jealous when anyone talked to her and bossed her around. I found Connor to be a bit boorish and spoiled but I guess men of power were probably like that back then.

The book just stops progressing around 30% through. Nothing of importance really happens until close to the end. I was bored to tears. I think the author could have cut out two-thirds of the book and still told the story. If she just would have kept the pace up, I would have enjoyed the book more but because I was so bored throughout most of the book, I can’t rate this book very high or recommend it.

 

 

The Highlander’s Runaway Bride – A Highland Feuding – Terri Brisbin

This was actually kind of a sad book, not sad in bad writing but sad emotionally. It starts off with Eva MacKay giving birth and the baby girl gets taken away. She isn’t even healed from giving birth when her father announces she is to be married off to another clan far away. She wants to find her child so she runs away to look for her.

We met Rob Mackintosh in the first book of the series. He’s a bit of a womanizer and does not want to get tied down but he agrees because he’ll do anything for his chief and his clan. He travels quite a long way just to find out his intended bride has run away.

Rob goes in search of Eva and finds her injured and fevered in a cave. He takes her back to her father’s but soon learns that her father is a cruel man who has no problem beating Eva when she does something that displeases him. Rob marries Eva but does not consummate the marriage because his new bride is skittish and has been ill. He has no idea that Eva has a child and that her father is using the child against her to do his bidding.

Later, after Rob had taken Eva back to the Mackintosh castle and Eva had just started warming up to Rob and had become friends with the chief and his wife, Eva’s father comes to visit and orders Eva to do something she does not want to do. He threatens her that he will kill her child. I kept thinking that her child was already dead and it made me so sad for Eva and even if the child was alive, her father would continue to use Eva for his own gain over and over again. And because she hadn’t been honest with Rob in the first place, she could lose him if he finds out.

I so wanted someone to beat the crap out of Eva’s father. What is really sad about her father is that it was common for men to abuse woman back in those days and nobody stuck up for them because a daughter was considered chattel so anyone who interfered would either be arrested, fined or shunned by the clan. I am so glad that I live in the 21st century!

I’m not sure if there will be more books in this series or not but these two books were very entertaining. I can never get enough of Terri Brisbin’s writing.