Highland Sorcerer by Clover Autrey

Highland Sorcerer (Highland Sorcery, #1)Highland Sorcerer by Clover Autrey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

OK, next time I really must not forget to have a look at the heat index of books. I had automatically assumed there would be at least some love scenes, but no. Towards the end when there were only about 30 pages left and finally H and h were together again after an exciting rescue mission, I figured now would be a good time – and was disappointed. They had such a good connection, and a love scene would have just been the icing on the cake. I’m sure Clover Autrey would have done a brilliant job, too. Then again, how can there be a love scene when Col has been dragged into a time rift, Shaw has been abducted by Aldreth and Edeen is in a sort of coma? At least there is good reason for not having sex there and then.

Anyway, once I got over that, I was quite pleased with this story. It was a free book from All Romance and turned out to be 130 pages on my Sony, not too shabby. The plot was quite good, evil witch trying to take over the world with the help of a powerful sorcerer who would not have any of it. A spunky healer who stops at nothing to help her (future) lover. Perfect! Time travel, magic, Highlands, very nice. Thank God the oh so popular Scottish accent was kept to a minimum.

The story ended with a huge cliffhanger and will be continued with “The Vampire and the Highland Empath” (what a title!), which has a higher heat index. Just saying. However, reading the synopsis of the following titles I am not drawn to them. Shaw’s storyline featuring monsters that ate humankind to extinction (?) doesn’t do it for me, I am afraid.

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Into the dreaming by Karen Marie Moning

Synopsis: Aspiring romance novelist Jane Sillee was completely in love with her fantasy man–the hot and strapping dark-haired Highlander who’d been coming to her in her dreams for years and inspired her sensual flights of literary fantasy.

But it was more than her imagination that conjured up the brilliantly woven tapestry sporting the spitting image of her magnificently arrogant warrior. It was more than a dream that transported her to medieval Scotland to break an evil spell. And it was more than she could handle when she found herself wrapped in the muscular arms of Aedan MacKinnon, who had his own fantasies to fulfill…


The novella is part of an anthology called "Tapestry". What I love about novellas is that there is no room to drag out the plot ad infinitum. This one didn’t disappoint.

This story was an absolute delight to read. Even considering what I said earlier in my post about names in novels, I have some preferences when it comes to hero’s names. If his name is Aidan (or any derivation) he can’t fail with me. It all started with "Phantom Lover" by Sherrilyn Kenyon, a novella in the anthology "Midnight Pleasures" and ever since I’m a sucker for any Aidan out there. Disclaimer: "Dark Gold" doesn’t count, I read that book before "Phantom Lover", so Aidan Savage doesn’t fall into the "Great Aidans" category. In fact I found him rather bland.

Jane was a heroine after my own heart. Not shilly shallying back and forth, but once she’s set her mind on Aedan – and that was before she even met him in person – she stuck to that. No matter how cool he was towards her, she knew why that was and never gave up. No silly misunderstandings or stupid banter came in between her and her man.

Another circumstance that sold me the story was the fact that Jane and Aedan met in their dreams before they met in real life. I just like that. A lot.

Aedan wasn’t as alpha as you probably would expect from some highlander story, but that was more down to the fact that he had no clue who he was, having been brainwashed for 500 years. Not surprising that the poor guy was a bit confused and only slowly came to his senses.

Even the brogue, that I usually don’t like too much, didn’t bother me. It all fit perfectly.

This was my first story ever by Karen Marie Moning and now I’m debating whether to read her Highlander series.


Want to read more reviews? This story was also reviewed by Reading Adventures.


Gothic Dragon by Marie Treanor

Synopsis: Stuck in an uninteresting job and settled in a safe but vaguely unsatisfying relationship, the only bright spot in Esther’s life is her writing. She’s fascinated by colorful life of her ancestor Margaret Marsden, a nineteenth-century Gothic romance novelist. A woman who mysteriously disappeared without a trace.
A weekend away turns into a hunt for clues when Esther stumbles across Margaret’s lost novel, The Prince of Costanzo. Though desperate to read it, every time Esther opens the book, she falls asleep, and headlong into amazingly vivid dreams about Costanzo.
But in this dream world where war, magic and poisoning are commonplace, nothing is as it seems. Least of all the supposed villain of the novel, the enigmatic sorcerer Prince Drago. She finds herself kidnapped to his castle and subjected to a seductive interrogation that curls her toes. As their feelings for each other grow more powerful, she begins to wonder – is he the real villain, or a hero who only wants to save his kingdom? All she knows is that now that she’s had a taste of Costanzo – and Drago, her real life troubles seem insignificant.

Until they come crashing around her, threatening to cut her off from the man she loves. Forever.

Review: I like the idea of the reader to be sucked into a book. However, usually you’d expect her to experience the story described in that book. Here the story that Esther was transported into was quite different from the contents of the book. The explanation that was given as to why that was and how Esther could be drawn into the book in the first place was a bit far fetched and too complicated for my simple mind. But I’m a reader willing to overlook almost everything, from inconsistencies to illogical reasoning to incomprehensible explanations as to the why of the story, if only the story is good. And good it was.

The dreamlike, gothic atmosphere was quite compelling, you could picture Drago’s castle, the whole country Costanzo, its peasants, everything. It was like looking at one of those vivid paintings of some medieval scenery.
The fact that Drago, who was introduced as the super villain, turned out to be the hero was a nice touch here. He was as great a hero as you could wish for in a romance. Esther realistically didn’t fall for him the second she set eyes on him, but slowly came to care for him.
The real villains (there are some in either timeline) turned out to be quite villainous indeed and added the necessary suspense.

I’m a sucker for the “waited all my life for you” sort of story, so this was a really enjoyable read for me.

edit: There is a free short story available at The Samhellion called “Gothic Wolf”, which is a sort of sequel to “Gothic Dragon”, featuring Esther’s sister and Arturo.  Check it out!


My outlaw by Linda Lael Miller

Synopsis: Keighly sees Darby for the first time when they are both around seven. She sees him through a mirror in her grandmother’s home that has been built on the site of The Blue Garter, a saloon cum brothel in the 19th century. In the course of the following years they meet off and on and communicate on a basic level with the help of written mirrored messages. When Keighly inherits her grandmother’s home she investigates and finds out – among other things concerning her own destiny – that Darby has died in 1887, the year he is living in now. She is determined to find a way to cross over
to his time and possibly save him from his fate.

Review: Even though the book opens with a prologue, Linda Lael Miller cuts right to the chase. In the prologue she tells us about Keighly’s childhood, her first meeting with Darby up to the time when Keighly inherits her grandmother’s house. The first chapter starts about 10 years later when Keighly visits the town of Redemption, Nevada, again and the story starts to flow from here until the end without a boring or redundant part.
I don’t want to discuss the ins and outs of time travel, because I’m pretty certain people would come up with all sorts of objections to the time travel adventures of Keighly. She goes back and forth a few times (but not in as nearly a mind boggling way as Henry in TTTW) and changes her own and Darby’s history as she goes along at each time, but really, who cares? I’m not reading a paper on physics, but a romance, and am willing to cut the author some slack.
Miller describes the chemistry between Keighly and Darby beautifully. To me, the scenes when they were separated by the mirror were even more sensual than the times when they were actually together. They truly were meant for each other.
All the secondary characters were extremely likeable, if not downright crucial for the happy ending. The story was just perfect all around. There was a slight inconsistency towards the end, when it turned out that Redemption didn’t have a paramedic team and a few pages later it was supposed to have an excellent one, but, really, this was such a minor point and had no relevance to the story.
An absolutely charming read which will definitely stay on my keeper shelf.



A Very Gothic Christmas (anthology)

The book contains two novellas.

After the Music by Christine Feehan

Synopsis (blurb): Terrified by mysterious threats, Jessica Fitzpatrick spirits away her twin wards, Tara and Trevor, to the remote island mansion of their estranged father, world-famous musician Dillon Wentworth. Ever since the fire that claimed his troubled wife’s life and left him horribly disfigured, Dillon has shut out the world. With Christmas approaching, the spark between him and Jessica might light the future, but there are those who shared Dillon’s wife’s love of the occult . . . and their evil machinations may plunge the family into darkness — unless a Christmas miracle occurs. . . .

Review: This was my first Feehan book not dealing with Carpathians and I don’t know whether I’m glad or sad to say that she hasn’t changed her ways. The heroine’s body is still soft and pliant and the hero is once more a predator – even if he comes in disguise of an ex-celebrity musician. In Feehan’s world, there is an order and you must adhere to it. Plenty of molten lava around as well, and she even managed to throw in a narrow ribcage, so nothing new here either.

I wouldn’t call the story Gothic, but there are some mysterious features on board. Hooded and cloaked figures looming in the dark, curious “accidents”, shadows from the past, a Gothic mansion on a remote storm-ridden island, it’s all there. The story dragged along though. Why, oh, why the couple waited for an eternity to follow their mutual attraction remains a mystery and annoyed me quite a bit. It was an ok read, the characters were nice and likeable, I just didn’t feel connected to them. However, for Feehan fans it is a must.

Lady of the Locket by Melanie George

Syopsis (blurb): The echoes of history and romance lure Rachel Hudson to Glengarren, the Scottish castle where her parents met many Christmases ago. But it is the portrait of fierce Highlander Duncan MacGregor that sparks an inexplicable yearning inside her. On a storm-tossed night, as lightning cracks across the castle’s turrets, Rachel finds herself face-to-face with MacGregor himself, astride a mighty stallion. Now, stepping into Rachel’s time — and her heart — the warrior from the past is pursued by an ancient, evil enemy. . . .

Review: This second story was a real treat. I have never read anything by Melanie George, but will definitely look for some of her books. You could literally feel the cold in that old Scottish castle and feel the mysterious atmosphere. The hero, Duncan MacGregor, was to die for, no wonder Rachel fell for him immediately. I personally like the soul mate theme, so the instantaneous connection between the two didn’t pose a problem for me.
I was somewhat dissatisfied with the end of the story. It turned out to be a real tear jerker (not bad in itself), but wasn’t resolved satisfactorily in my eyes. I don’t see how the author could have done it differently, but I just didn’t like it particularly anyway. It was a HEA of sorts, though.

I really liked the lyrics of the song that Duncan sang to Rachel and researched it on the net. The song was written in 1877 by Annie Fortescue Harrison with lyrics by Meta Orred. Thus it could have hardly been known by Duncan who died in Culloden in 1746. Admittedly the song fit wonderfully into the context, but inconsistencies like this could be avoided and just bother me in retrospect.



The Time-Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The book is the story about Henry, a time-traveller, and Claire, his wife. Henry travels in time, totally unplanned and unintentionally. He can’t say when he will travel and where he will end up – and he can’t take anything with him, so he always turns up naked wherever he goes. They meet for Claire’s first time when she is around 6 and he is 36. They meet for Henry’s first time when Claire is 20 and he is 28. When Henry meets Claire when she is 6 he already knows that she will be his wife, since he’s already been married to her for a number of years. When Claire meets him when she is 20 and he is 28, she already has known him since she was 6 while he has never seen her before. With me still?

The book is written in form of vignettes that are set in all sorts of various times and from two points of view. So the reader has to constantly figure out what has already happened, and to whom. The ages of Claire and Henry in relation to each other constantly change, since Henry is sometimes coming from the past and sometimes from the future.

When I started to read the book I thought I had found the book that from now on I’m going to give as a gift to everybody I know, but I changed my mind later on. I loved the beginning, how Henry and Claire met in Henry’s present and how their relationship – that existed for Claire already for a long time – developed. However, I wanted the story to get a "Happily Ever After" and needless to say it didn’t have one. It was obvious from fairly early on that the ending would be sad and for me that just doesn’t do it.

The idea of the story is very original and if the story line had gone into another direction this would have been my favourite book ever – even though I must admit that I can’t imagine what positive direction the storyline could have taken.

Another point I found a bit disappointing was that the two points of view could only be distinguished by the fact that the author always started the vignettes with the name of the person and a colon. Without that you couldn’t have said who is speaking/thinking at the moment. Henry and Claire sound exactly the same – not very likely in my opinion.

I’d recommend the book because the time travel concept is an interesting and intriguing idea.