As you now know, Tessa Dare is on my author auto-buy list. I will pre-order anything with her name on it and anxiously await the day it magically shows up on my Kindle. She could write a love story between a linen napkin and a teacup and I would devour what would likely be their witty, beverage-related banter for hundreds of pages. That said, I was so excited to get my hands on an advanced reader’s copy of her latest Castles Ever After release, When a Scot Ties the Knot. It’s out TODAY, so head on over to your favorite print or ebook seller and buy it already.
I’m changing things up this week with a little Outlander action, which moves my love of historical romance from the Regency and Victorian era to Revolutionary War era America. To call A Breath of Snow and Ashes a romance is a generous statement, as you’ll quickly learn from this review, but given it’s inclusion in the Outlander series, which I consider to be one giant, multi-book romance saga, I think the classification is justified. Joining me for this review and jaunt down heartache lane is my favorite JAMFF fangirl and book sister, Heather DLG of True Stories & Make Believe. We’re running simultaneous reviews on our respective blogs, and I’d encourage you to check out her reviews! If you’re interested in a wonderfully eclectic array of book recommendations (who isn’t?!?) True Stories & Make Believe is a perfect fit for you.
Now, on to our review of A Breath of Snow and Ashes, which Heather has very appropriately referred to in legalese as Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. Let’s start with our general impressions of this one, shall we?
Ronnie: In librarianship there’s something called “bibliotherapy,” which refers to “the use of books selected on the basis of content in a planned reading program designed to facilitate the recovery of patients suffering from mental illness or emotional disturbance” (ALA, Bibliotherapy). “A Breath of Snow and Ashes” would never, ever, in a million years be on any librarian’s or mental health professional’s list of recommended bibliotherapy reading lists. In fact, this book caused the kind of emotional scarring and tumult that would in turn require some healing. So, yeah, I am now in need of some serious bibliotherapy to help me get over the emotional gut-punch that was the act of reading “Breath.” ‘Nuff said.
Heather: From the outset you could feel something coming; something not at all good. The little hairs on the back of my neck stood on end, my stomach churned, and I regressed to nail-biting–one of my nervous ticks. I’ve never been literally punched in the face but while reading “Breath” I felt as if Herself kept pounding me with knock-out punches. I never expected anything close to what happens to our beloved characters in this sixth installment. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, they did, over and over and over again. Basically for most of the novel I was either pissed off or heartbreakingly sad. And so it goes with Outlander. If I ever get the chance to talk with Ms. Gabaldon in person, all I’m going to do is ask her about “Breath.” This is not a set-piece novel but a “let’s completely upend the entire lives of our beloved characters novel” as we move to the final three books of Claire and Jamie’s epic saga.
Fair warning: Spoilers ABOUND in this review, folks. DO NOT read on unless you’ve read Breath or would care to have major Outlander plot points made known to you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
Great highland Scots! I’m happy to be today’s stop on the Tasty Virtual Book Tour for Black Raven’s Lady by Kathleen Harrington. In addition to a review, I’m also sharing a giveaway for a $25 eGift Card to Choice Book Seller, so don’t forget to enter!
If you too are suffering from Hot Scots withdrawal now that Outlander is on hiatus, you’ll want to pick up a copy of this final installment in Harrington’s Highland Lairds Trilogy. The imposing yet rakish Laird Keir MacNeil meets his match in spunky Lady Raine Cameron, a spunky heroine reminiscent of old Julie Garwood lasses with sass. Plagued by rumors that she is not her father’s daughter, Raine sets out to find the man she believes to be her sire, a man wanted for treason against the King of Scotland. To do so, she must put herself in the trust and safekeeping of Keir, a powerful Laird and ship captain whose alpha-male presence has made Raine’s heart skip a beat since she was a young lass of seventeen. Thrust together at sea, Keir and Raine guard their secrets from one another well, but they can’t seem to fight the physical attraction to one another that’s plagued them for years.
Black Raven’s Lady is a swashbuckler, y’all, plain and simple. This charming novel will take you from mainland Scotland to the Sea of the Hebrides and back again. Rich in historical detail and fully-immersed in 16th century Scottish nautical adventure, you’ll feel as though you’re on board with Raine and Keir as they journey to stamp out a treasonous uprising. If you like your romance with a good helping of history and adventure, Black Raven’s Lady should be on your to-be-read list.
The romance between Keir and Raine had a hint of the enemies-to-lovers trope, with both lovers desperate to stamp out their physical desire for one another. Rather than give in to their lust, Keir and Raine keep each other at bay with harsh words and avoidance, the latter only making them more eager to give in to temptation. Although Raine was a strong-minded independent woman, she still, at times, suffered from the naïveté that often afflicts virgin heroines faced with their first real taste of desire. Thankfully, she was no shrinking violet in the captain’s quarters, but rather embraced her physical connection to Keir once it become clear that neither laird nor lass would be able to stay away.
If you’re a fan of alpha males, spunky heroines, and romance on the high seas, you’ll enjoy Kathleen Harrington’s latest.
Kathleen Harrington, winner of the Colorado Romance Writers’ Award of Excellence, has touched the hearts of readers across the country with her sparkling tales of high adventure and unending love. Her historical romances have been finalists for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice, Virginia Romance Writers’ HOLT Medallion, and the Phoenix Desert Rose Golden Quill. Her fabulous heroes have garnered the K.I.S.S. (Knight in Shining Silver) Award. She lives in Southern California.
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