Thursday, February 11, 2010

Review of "A Highlander Christmas" by Janet Chapman

So I picked this up thinking it would be a quick, fun read. I realized within the first few pages that this must be part of a series, but it seemed that each of the children got their own book, so I figured it would be one of those "You can pick it up where ever and get into it" kind of series. Nope. And for disclaimer purposes - I did not recieve this book or money in exchange for a review. The book is on loan, and I am reviewing it because someone needs to hear about it, jeez.

From the back of the book:
" Camry MacKeage has absolutely no intention of telling her parents that she left her job as a NASA physicist for the small-town life of a dog-sitter - which is why she's spending the holidays alone in coastal Maine with her furry friends Tigger and Max. Unfortunately, her irresistibly handsome rival, scientist Luke Pascal, accidentally spilled the beans. Now he's on a mission from her mother to tempt Camry home for the family's annual winter solstice celebration. But Luke is hiding his own secret, and he'll need a little bit of magic to earn Camry's trust.. and a whole lot of mistletoe to seduce his way into her heart. "

Let's start at the very beginning ( a very good place to start, by the way ), with the title. "A Highlander Christmas" brings to mind, you know.. Highlanders and Christmas. Christmas was never even mentioned in the book, at all. In fact, the only holidays mentioned were the Winter Solstice, which Luke needed Camry to be home by, and the Summer Solstice, which was really only mentioned in passing. Neither of those, really, are Christmas. The Solstice is an entirely different sort of celebration. And as for the Highlander part, Camry had Highlander blood, as her father was one, and he showed up on occasion, as did a few other characters. But I don't think this book quite justified it being called "A Highlander Christmas".. maybe this was just to make it go along with the series, however.

Next, and probably my biggest issue with the book, would be pacing. By that, I mean there wasn't any. This book just jumped from one instance to the next, no little breaks for the reader, just a very fast ride where I felt, literally, dragged along. Honestly, by less than halfway through the book, I was pretty positive I didn't like it, hated the way it read, and just wanted it to be over, but I hate the idea of reviewing a book I didn't finish. Because this book was so fast paced, with sometimes very little description, I didn't fall in love with... any of it, really. There were maybe three things I liked, and they were the dogs in the book. I felt no connect with the characters, their stories didn't even seem believable to me. And it wasn't because of the supposed magic that kept occuring, I'm good with magic, magic I can handle.. But Camry was inconsistant, and I felt like if she had been a real person, there would be a long line of people that wanted to smack her. She supposedly worked for NASA as a physicist, but I never got the vibe that she was dedicated or able to concentrate enough to do something like that. Luke was a little better, mostly because he was new to this whole world too, and like me, seemed to just be along for the whirlwind.

As for what I liked about the book, I can't say there's much. I liked the story Luke told Camry about his younger sister and their old dog Maxine. I'm a sucker for "dog saves a family member" stories. And the two dogs that accompanied Camry and Luke on their journey were the characters I could actually tolerate during the whole thing. Maybe because they couldn't talk, maybe it was because the little dog's name was Tigger, and she wore sweaters. I can't tell.

This book, I'm sure, is part of a series, and yes, I suppose I was wrong for reading it out of order. But generally, series where each book features a different person are easier for someone to pick up in the middle. But because I disliked the quick tone and pace to this book, I won't be wanting to read the rest of them.

As for a rating, I'm giving this book a TWO out of FIVE. And I'm still not convinced I'm giving it a two only because I liked the dogs. Of course, you are all encouraged to read "A Highlander Christmas" by Janet Chapman and come to your own conclusions. And if you have read the rest of her books, please comment and tell me if they are much better when read in order, or if the rest follow a similar vein.

Happy Reading!
~!~ Morning Glow

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Review of "Dangerous Highlander" by Donna Grant

Just finished "Dangerous Highlander" by Donna Grant, the first in her Dark Sword series. I'm not sure how I remembered first hearing about this author, but I won some swag for the release of "Dangerous Highlander" several months ago, and finally got my hands on the book itself to read. Bought by myself, by the way, neither book or money was given in exchange for this review.

From the back of the book:
" A DANGEROUS MAN... He is magnificently strong - and dangerously seductive. One of the fiercest of his clan, Lucan MacLeod is a legend among warriors, inspiring fear in man and woman alike. For three hundred years, he has locked himself away from the world, hiding the vengeful god imprisoned in his soul. But then, a young lass caught in a raging storm awakens his deepest impulses... and darkest desires.
A DANGEROUS PASSION... Cara doesn't believe the rumors about MacLeod Castle - until the majestic Highland warrior appears like a fiery vision in the storm, pulling her into his powerful arms, and into his world of magic and druids. An epic war between good and evil is brewing. And Lucan must battle his all-consuming attraction for Cara - or surrender to the flames of a reckless, impossible love that threatens to destroy them both... "

As I'm sure everyone has noticed, character development, as well as how much I come to love the characters, is one of the biggest factors that make or break a novel for me. While I can't say I saw too much development in Lucan himself, I definitely saw change in Cara, and even more so in Lucan's brothers - Quinn and Fallon. Of course Lucan changed during the course of the novel, but that would mostly be because of his interaction with Cara, I wouldn't necessarily call it development.

One quick note, I did find my mind straying on occasion. There are some books that while I am interested, and for the most part they do keep my attenion, I find myself skipping lines, or sometimes just following dialogue. This seemed to be the case with "Dangerous Highlander." There were certainly passages that kept me glued to the page, but others, my mind would occasionally wander.

That said, I still loved the book. I really enjoyed the plot, the gods inside the warriors, and especially the description of what the warriors looked like when they let their god transform them. Even more than that, I loved that each warrior that held a different god transformed into a different colored creature. The big baddie in the storyline is interesting, and I can't wait to see how the whole thing wraps up, which I hope won't be for another several books. On that note, the next book in the series is "Forbidden Highlander".. and seems to be Fallon MacLeod's book.

So to wrap this up, I would give "Dangerous Highlander" by Donna Grant a FOUR out of FIVE. I liked the idea, I liked the characters, even loved some of them. And yes, I will check out the rest in the series. But this just didn't feel like a five star book to me. But definitely check out "Dangerous Highlander" and come up with your own conclusions.

Happy Reading!
~!~Morning Glow