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Highland Hunger Mass Market Paperback – Sep 4 2012
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Quick & Dirty: This delightful anthology delivers romance, plenty of interesting characters, and will leave readers wanting more.
This is my first story by all three of these authors, at least that I can recall. Each of these stories features a paranormal lead male of the "vampire" variety and a not so vampire-ish leading lady. All of the stories are set in the Highlands of Scotland in the time of kings and lairds...
"Dark Embrace" by Hannah Howell (MacNachton Vampires series)
A touching tale of an innocent maiden, on the run from a psychotic madman, who is saved by knight on a black horse instead of a white horse and without the shine. You catch the drift. However, Una Dunn is not your typical damsel in distress. This girl can kick butt and take the pursuant names, all without breaking a nail. A genetic mix between ordinary human and the clan MacNachton, Una has always been stronger and faster than the average bad guy. While being held captive with eight others like her, Una escapes to search for help. But, after being starved and bled for weeks, she finds herself surrounded by henchmen and in danger of being recaptured. Then, just at the right moment, in marches, or rides as the case may be, Sir Raibeart MacNachton, resident hot guy on a horse and, it turns out, he's pretty good with his sword too...ahem. After hearing her story, he offers his and his fellow clansmen's aid in rescuing her fellow captives. The bad guys are defeated, the captives recovered, and in the end Una realizes that Raibeart has not only rescued her friends, but also her heart as well.
"A Knight Beyond Black" by Jackie Ivie
Just looking back through my notes for this story, my first reaction is "Ummmmm" shortly followed by "Huh?" I will say that this story starts off a tad bit.... randomly. It took me a full three chapters to understand fully the premise of the story. And in a story with only sixteen chapters, that kind of seems like a long time. Anyway, this story starts off at a ball in London, where the almost beautiful Miss Tira Coombs is scandalously swept off her very feet by the enigmatic and very fan worthy Iain Duncan Evan James Alexander MacAvee. The IV. Duke of MacAvee, Earl of blah blah blah, chieftain of clans so on and so forth. She then finds out that Iain is her arranged betrothed, her parental unit having kept this news from her for the entirety of her 21 years. Love those good old days. Imagine on his part, waiting 21 years for his bride to mature, that's a long wait. Especially when, on the day of her birth, the very earth whispered to him that his soul mate had arrived. Eventually, Iain wears Tira down and the couple is married. So the "happy" couple leaves London after their nuptials and they board a ship to his homeland. While on the ship she finds out her new husband is a... *gasp* ...a vampire and on top of that bad news he has turned her into one as well.
This is the one thing that I dislike the most when I see it in any historical or paranormal romance. I know it's the way things were, and I get it, but I hate when a characters free will is taken from them. Really! Aside from that point, the story is a good one, and I liked it. And they do eventually find their HEA.
"The Guardian" by Michele Sinclair (McTiernay Brothers series)
This novella tells the story of Dorian, a centuries old nosferatu who is bored with life and searching for something. We are also introduced to Moirae Deincourt, enigmatic social outcast who runs around at night protecting the innocent, a la Bruce Wayne. After an attack and subsequent fire leave her physically damaged at age seventeen, Moirae vows to find those responsible. Dorian, a mystery himself, takes up residence in a nearby castle, and also takes over the role of Batman, or in this case, "The Guardian." When the new guardian repeatedly out performs her, and saves her life, once or twice, Moirae decides to use Dorian as an asset and she bribes him into training her in physical combat. Dorian, on the other hand, is aiming for another type of physical training altogether. By the end of the story it is revealed that not only does Dorian have a touch of the paranormal within his chromosomes, but Moirae is also special within her own right. And that ensures a rather long HEA in their future.
FTC Advisory: Kensington Books provided me with a copy of Highland Hunger. No goody bags, sponsorships, "material connections," or bribes were exchanged for my review.
I've reviewed other books (not on Amazon) that contained three separate stories but never one where the book contained three different authors. Another thing I kept in mind that these were "stories" and not full books; the writers were limited to "n" thousand words. I'll review them in the order read.
"The Guardian" by Michele Sinclair
I've loved the McTiernay series by Michele Sinclair since her first book some years ago. And delighted in "The Christmas Knight". For me a book no matter what the genre the characters have to be interesting and at least one of the main characters must be likable. And have a plot -- an intriguing plot is even better.
Sinclair delivers both in "The Guardian". The introduction of the two lead characters, Moirae and Dorian, is strong and a page turner. Moirae: Nothing like someone saving you when you are mad at them before you even met them. Dorian: Nothing like never planning on loving a human again and finding yourself drawn to her more ever moment you are with her. Both are 'special people' and to each other.
"The Guardian" was Michele Sinclair's first "story" rather than a "full" book. But because she does have such a wonderful 'vampir-ion' idea that included other countries, Sinclair initiated interesting sub-characters that I hope & dare say expect to appear in a future 'story'. I fully enjoyed this story. 4 1/2 stars
"Dark Embrace" by Hannah Howell
Raibeart is so likeable...a gentle giant. Una is strong and determined. Howell makes them an interesting team. The love grows as Una trusts Raibeart more and when she meets his 'clan', she finally finds a home.
The book at times blogged down due to the "Scottish accent" writing and at least one love scene could have been cut to provide more interest to the 'clan' characters. However, "Dark Embrace" was an solid read and I would like to see a follow-up story on the 'clan'. 4 stars
"A Knight Beyond Black" by Jackie Ivie
The characters Lady Tira & Ian Duncan MacAvee have a good introduction but MacAvee quickly became almost a cartoon. Owner of seven castles and chieftain of four clans yet no one has heard of him. The dialogue between MacAvee and his guards becomes ludicrous. His broken promise of escorting Tira the final days before the wedding is ridiculously weak if he was truly a leader. I did enjoy the short scene when Tira's aunt, Adelaide, nails Ophelia.
I was uncertain of the time period or even the location of the story. Appears to be somewhere in England during the Regency period.
Unpleasant to read were the numerous love scenes involving lots of blood and one such scene would have been more than enough. Una's character was okay but MacAvee offends as a man and a leader. 2 1/2 stars
"Highland Hunger" gets four stars due to the fine writing of Michele Sinclair & Hannah Howell.
Paranormal Romance- Aug. 30th, 2011
Big, brawny highland vampires to make you swoon!
Dark Embrace by Hannah Howell
Raibeart MacNachton comes from a dying clan of immortals. His Laird has sent him out to find others related to his kind. Those who share their blood and many of their powers but who have mortal human blood and the ability to propagate. Raibeart has been searching fruitlessly until he comes to the aid of a lovely young lass named Una who is running from an evil lord who captured her and those like her. She and several others like her have abilities that the man she has escaped from wants for himself. And he has resorted to torture and draining them to achieve his aims. While Una comes to respect her rescuer Raibeart, she is still wary. But even though she admires him, she makes it clear she is unwilling to join him and his Laird unless her friends are freed, too. But will their reckless plans for a rescue result in more disaster?
This was an enjoyable read. Raibeart for all his strength is a very gentle and kind man. I loved reading how careful he was with the courageous Una. And Una was very deserving of her rescuer. Although this story was short, I could feel their appreciation and chemistry for each other. Well written and moving read. 4 stars
The Guardian by Michele Sinclair
Moirae is the mysterious Guardian of Badenoch. She has trained relentlessly to protect those she cares for but when she hears rumors of another claiming to be the Guardian, she is infuriated. She plans to meet this imposter and send him on his way. However, her plans quickly change when she meets Dorian, a powerful and attractive man who saves her from near death. For Dorian is an immortal and Moirae has his undivided attention because Moirae is special; there is something about her and her family which intrigues him. Soon he finds he will protect her at all costs.
This was a very intriguing read. I was enthralled with the concept of Dorian and the rest of his 'clan.' I would really like the author to expand upon this story. However, because the story was so short, it felt a bit rushed, and I had a feeling of the story being a bit unfinished. It felt like a very short novella or prequel-teaser. 3 1/2 stars
A Knight Beyond Black by Jackie Ivie
Lady Tira is attractive but her independence, strong-will and opinionated ways keep many a suitor away. So it is with great surprise when she is accosted at a ball by a man named Ian Duncan MacAvee. While highly attracted to him, she does not care for his overly bold manner. When she finds she has been contracted to marry him since her birth, the fiery lady is livid and pleads to her father to prevent the marriage.
Ian Duncan MacAvee has waited 20 years for his fated mate to grow into adulthood before claiming her and his impatience shows. But he made a mistake by telling her they are marrying (without her consent) and not courting her properly. Can he make amends?
I really enjoy Jackie Ivie's writing. Lady of the Knight is one of the best books written, ever! But this story felt like a bit of a miss for me. Although the author spends a great deal of time with the two main characters, I never felt that they really had a developing and emotional relationship. If it was a longer story, I think this hurdle would have easily been overcome. While it was entertaining (as Ian gets advice on courting) and often funny, the romance did not quite work for me. 3 1/2 stars
Reviewed by Steph from the Bookaholics Romance Book Club