Review: Dark Sword series by Donna Grant

I spent last week binge reading this series. For some crazy reason, I read the two series that followed this, Dark Warriors and Dark Kings, but I never read this one. So weird.

The Dark Sword series is about Scottish warriors who have gods living inside of them. The gods come to the strongest in each clan. The men had no idea they had god inside of them until the evil Deirdre took them captive and unbound them. These book are their stories of how they escaped and how they vowed to seek revenge and destroy her.

Each story is filled with action and adventure and, most of all, love. There is the perfect woman for each man. And of course, then men don’t feel worthy, due to there being a god inside of them. They’re afraid of the god taking over and making them evil, so they try to stay away from the women they want. And plus, Deirdre will do anything to hurt them and bring them back under her mountain. She wants their power and will kill anyone that gets in her way.

Since I read the first series last, I saw so many familiar faces. It makes me want to do a massive reread, but I just don’t have the time. *pretend I’m making a sad face* You’ll feel the same way once you read these also.

If you like a world filled with magic and druids and sexy highlanders, then this is the series for you.

~Melpomene

Grab the full series
Dangerous Highlander~ http://amzn.to/2zc8w56
Forbidden Highlander~ http://amzn.to/2x0r7Ax
Wicked Highlander~ http://amzn.to/2xJzy7A
Untamed Highlander~ http://amzn.to/2yrc5qm
Shadow Highlander~ http://amzn.to/2zeN9Qx
Darkest Highlander~ http://amzn.to/2yNU9rA

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Review: The Bookshop on the Corner

I loved Nina and her van full of books! As she traveled and matched up the right books with the right people, Nina also experienced personal growth. Along her journey from England to Scotland, Nina did more than just drive some kilometers. She transitioned from roommate-situation to living alone, and from depressed to wide-eyed in awe. 

I also liked Nina’s relationship with her roommate Surinder – everyone needs a best friend who can share unvarnished truths. And Surinder was so fun! Nina also had a beautiful friendship with teenage Ainslee, a girl who just needed a good book and a nudge in the right direction. 

I didn’t enjoy the Marek storyline at all, but I did see the necessity of a “transition” guy during Nina’s transformation. So while Marek and his subplot made a lot of sense, the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth.  The chapters with Nina’s landlord were similarly nose-wrinkling. He was a great guy, but I didn’t like his circumstances in the story. 

Overall, I sailed happily through this lovely story about a woman making a big life change. While the romantic parts weren’t my cup of tea, Nina’s friendships and journey of self-discovery were on point. Author Jenny Colgan made me feel like I was part of Nina’s book van, and that was a thrill in itself! 

-calliope

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Review: Death of a Liar by M.C. Beaton

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This 31st book in the Hamish Macbeth series begins the way I like a mystery to begin: with a murder. This isn’t just any murder, though. It’s the first of many. Sergeant Macbeth thinks they’re all related, and he’s determined to solve the case.

While Hamish is busy investigating, we watch him navigate his sort of pitiful love life, his friendship with his sidekick Dick, and his relationships with his police superiors.

I liked seeing Hamish’s whole life and how he prioritized work, women, and friends. Beaton succeeds in making him a three-dimensional character that way. I was grateful, because this is the first Hamish Macbeth book I’ve read, and I understood the character in the first few chapters.

Beaton wrote some fun criminals, too. I laughed at their antics and raised my eyebrows quite a few times. The recurring secondary characters were a little flat, though. I didn’t feel like I knew Dick or Jimmy or Blair or any of the other police officers. As a matter of fact, they all got jumbled up for me. I kept going back to earlier chapters to sort them out in my mind. And that doesn’t make for fun reading.

The writing was good for the most part. Sentence structure was perfect, descriptions and word choice were on point. The Scottish bits were terrific! The dialogue was a little weak, though, with some stilted conversation. I also noticed quite a bit of telling-instead-of-showing. Combined, it made the book plod along for me.

And just a little subjectivity: what in the world was the point of Anka? She was sent to the forefront so often that I really thought she would end up with a bigger part than she had. Maybe it’s a tease for books to come?

So in the end, I liked the actual mystery, and I could appreciate the main character, but the rest of the book just didn’t do it for me. But if you’re a mystery buff and a fan of a largely male cast, you might enjoy Death of a Liar. Check it out.

-calliope

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Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

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It’s so difficult to ponder this book after reading it that I have to hurry and write the review so I can forget about the book.

Outlander is about Claire, a English woman from the 1940s, pulled into an adventuresome, fun, dangerous, romantic quest in 18th century Scottish Highlands.

I loved every second of 90% this book: Horseback riding through the forests, stereotypical Scottish dialogue, ripped clothing, filth, the challenges of being a female who knows medicine and healing, lots of rough men stealing and working and saving people… An arranged marriage that was full of unspoken love, family ties of numerous clansmen, illegitimate children, crime, detention and escape, and of course a really really bad villain with an ancestral tie to Claire’s husband. What’s not to love in this beautiful saga?!

One thing ruined the entire book for me. The ENTIRE book. I’m talking about making the book go from 5 stars to 2. It nauseated me and left a bad taste in my mouth. The chapter was gratuitous and over the top in my opinion. There was a day of rape. I can accept that as part of the story. I can’t tolerate the retelling of the day-long rapes to one’s spouse, including not only every physical detail but EVERY anguishing psychological and emotional detail. I just don’t believe that any spouse would or could tell their loved one what Gabaldon wants me to believe Jamie told Claire.

Had I known that was coming I would have completely skipped the chapter, pleasantly read the very end, and given Outlander 5 stars.

The one scene ruined the entire book for me. How disappointing.

-Calliope

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