Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Review (ARC): Highland Master (Murrays 19) By Hannah Howell

 Title: Highland Master
       The Murrays 19
Author: Hannah Howell
Release Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Zebra HR ~ Kensington
Category: Historical Romance
Type: Digital, Audio, Paperback, Hardcover


Lady Triona McKee’s life is under desperate siege. The marriage she thought would answer her dreams has left her struggling alone to provide for her people, while an arrogant kinsman prepares to take her land. But one look into the cynical green eyes of her cousin’s boldest knight warns Triona that even a promise of help is just as dangerous…

Betrayal taught Sir Brett Murray to make protecting others his only life. Still, the growing desire he can’t help but feel for this entrancing widow makes him long to earn more than her trust. But in trying to save all she cherishes, he can’t see how an honor-scarred knight can stay in her world and her heart…unless he risks everything to prove his love is now and forever always…


“Are we done arguing?” he asked as he watched her eyes change to a deep, rich blue, a color he had seen each time he had kissed her.
“Aye, I believe we are. I think I would like to do something else right now.”
“I would like ye to kiss me.”
He had her in his arms so quickly she gasped. For one brief moment she wondered if she was about to make a very big mistake. Then he kissed her and she no longer cared. She wanted this, needed it. For once in her life she was going to be bold and daring, was going to reach out and take what she wanted without a thought to the consequences.

Dialogue Highlight:

Smiling faintly, he put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. Brett had the passing though that she fit perfectly in his arms, her face coming to rest against his chest and her soft hair brushing against his throat. She was small enough to make him feel big and strong, yet not so small that he feared he could hurt her. She was also very stiff, he mused.
“What are ye doing?” she asked, and then decided that was a very foolish question.
“Holding ye,” he replied, and could not keep all of his amusement out of his voice.
“Ye ken weel what I am asking, ye rouge.”
Triona knew she should be pushing him away, should even display a righteous outrage over his forward behavior. Just because she had already allowed him two kissed did not mean he had the right to accost her whenever he felt like it. Instead, she slowly began to relax into his embrace, because she had to admit she rather liked being accosted by him. He was warm and he made her feel that warmth inside as well as outside of her body. She knew she was experiencing the desire so many women spoke of, the heat that she had never discovered in her marriage.
What few twinges of desire she had felt for Boyd had died on her wedding night. The fragile hope she had clung to that the act had been cold and passionless because Boyd had been as nervous as she was, that now she was no longer a virgin it would get better, had also died a swift death. Triona knew that even if Brett was a greatly skilled lover, he could show her more about true desire than Boyd had ever done. She also knew that if she were not the laird of Banuilt, not a woman who needed to hold tightly to the full respect of her people, she would be dragging the man straight to the bedchamber to find out if he could give her all the passion his kisses had promised her.
“I am preparing to kiss you,” he said, slipping his hand beneath her chin and tilting her face up to his.
“Are ye actually asking permission to do so this time?”
“Aye, I suppose I am.”
“Oh, I am nay sure that is wise, nay if ye really wish to kiss me. Aski8ng gives me time to think about it. Then I start to consider the possibility that someone might see us, that it could hurt my standing here if I am caught in a mon’s arms, or e’en that every priest I have e’er listened to has spoken of such stolen moments as the first step on the path to sin.
He kissed her, smiling against her lips when she laughed.


I have been sitting on this ARC for a while and I could just spit, I am so upset that I didn’t read it any sooner. I had no idea that this was the 19th book in the Murray series. Yes. I said 19th! Nor did I realize that I actually have the 18th book on my shelf, waiting to be read. And let me tell you, that thing is darn near calling to me now to get it read. This is my first Hannah Howell novel and I can honestly call myself a new fan! I have a couple of other books by her that I picked up at yard sales, but never read. Let me assure you that I will be rectifying that tragedy right quick!

Let me start by saying how much I love reading Scottish HR. Love. It. But sometimes the brogue can lose the reader. As you read, you end up getting stuck on the thick accent and trying to decipher exactly what is being said. I was beyond thrilled to quickly discover the masterful balance between the internal monologues and spoken dialect within the novel. Not once did I misstep in my reading adventure. In fact, I polished this puppy off in one night. And really, what is not to enjoy about the Scottish Highlands and the romanticized past anyway? Nothing! That is what.

I have no doubt that readers will immerse themselves within this magical land in no time. Triona is an exceptional character that struggles internally to allow herself the freedom to pursue desires because she does not want to lose the loyalty of her people. A female Laird is difficult enough for some to assimilate and she clutches desperately to the position she holds with enough struggle, let alone the new yummy knight that just rode into her life. Brett is a distraction she does not need, but desire is a difficult thing to sway. Especially when that same man vows to help her and her people with the unlawful outside attacks designed to wear her down until there is no one left to fight. 

Brett had no idea accompanying Arianna to her cousin, Triona, would end up changing his life in such a powerful way. He and his brothers immediately sense things are not as Triona would have them believe and before long, he has given his word to help her and her people before he leaves Banuilt. Doesn’t hurt that the wooing of said Lady might be a good way to pass the time. But Brett knows that he has to make a firm decision prior to action because Triona isn’t the love her and leave her type. She’s dangerous and could very well capture the heart he has kept locked away for such a long time. And she does, though she is unaware of it. He has to show her that she has the love and trust of her people regardless of getting involved with him. Brett also knows that if he is to truly capture the Lady with no doubts, he must do something to prove himself. Problem is, it is no small thing he sets out to accomplish. 

I absolutely adore these two characters. Triona is fierce in her protection of her land and people. She is at a loss as to how to end their suffering at the hands of the neighboring Laird, but faces each challenge head on, holding on to hope that somehow the wrongs will be righted. I also enjoyed her internal struggle to give into the temptation that is Brett because of her loyalty to her people and not wanting to chance and possibility of weakness on her part. And Brett could definitely be seen as a weakness if she lets him in. Brett is all things dreamy. He practically rides up on his white horse and vows to save the lady from the evil that threatens her. He is hot, he’s Scottish, he’s a knight, he is crazy perceptive, and he is exactly what Triona and Banuilt need to make things right again. Who wouldn’t want a Brett riding into their lives, coming to the rescue?

While this is book 19, I had no problem reading it first and didn’t become lost without the background provided from previous installments. However, I did glean from the secondary characters that it would have been fun to have been previously introduced. I enjoyed the seriousness of the story, but also found myself laughing at the playfulness that lightened the mood on several occasions. My only complaint was when Brian referred to Triona as Brett’s “lass” and they just glide right by the statement. I though a bit of insight would have been addressed on that terminology. However, she is again referred to as the same several pages later and that is when he casually mentions that she is not really “his”. Thought that was a bit odd but given that it is in fact my only complaint, I would say it isn’t really much of anything and wouldn’t interfere with the enjoyment of the book at all. 

If you have any of Ms. Howell’s books and haven’t read them yet, don’t be a moron like myself. Read them. And if you don’t have any of her books yet, you really should give her a try. I can attest that The Murray series is a set to be enjoyed and quite possibly read several times again; especially those who enjoy Scottish HR.

Paperback ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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