Thursday, April 2, 2020

#BookReview – “Scrolls of the Cridhe: Volume One - Highland Winds” anthology



Highland Revenge by Ceci Giltenan
Does he hate her clan enough to visit his vengeance upon her? Or will he listen to her secret and his own heart's yearning?

The Taming of Mairi MacKenzie by Sue-Ellen WelfonderA forbidden love so powerful it could destroy them both.

Stealing Moirra's Heart by Suzan TisdaleShe didn't believe he was a thief when she rescued him... until he stole her heart.

Spirit Stones by Kate RobbinsSheona MacLeod has a gift. Malcom MacDonald seeks change. Together, they can change destiny...if they dare.

A Tear For Memory by Kathryn Lynn-DavisHow can a seer paint 'Truth' when she's lived a life of lies? Will she allow a man who has twice deceived her to open her heart to the truth?

A Jewel in the Vaults by Lily BaldwinShe has never met a man like him before. Then again, he has never met a lad like her.

Lord Grayson's Bride by Tarah ScottShe can't allow his love for her to destroy him...

The Legend...
Long, long ago, in the time before time, seven sisters were called from the far reaches of the realm. Each brought unique talents, but had one common gift; the ability to weave ageless tales of love and courage. An evil witch coveted their gifts and locked them in a tower, silencing their voices upon threat of death. But the Highlands are enchanted, and magic will not countenance seven pure hearts such as theirs to be lost.

With no one else to hear them, they sang their stories to each other. Fate blew a braw Highland wind to their prison, and the sweet, high timbre of the sisters' voices enthralled it. The wind gathered close their silver words as it raced past each day, and carried their love and goodness throughout the world...then across the ages.

Today, their words live on in the Guardians of the Cridhe, seven sisters who have sworn to preserve those pure and musical hearts so long as they live. It is said these seven descend from those ancient female bards. Only their words can bear witness to that truth...


In “Highland Revenge” by Ceci Giltenan, Laird Eoin MacKay hates the MacNicol clan after their leader, Bhaltair, imprisoned him years earlier, and though a young lad had helped him escape the dungeon, he lives for revenge. After he kidnaps Bhaltair’s niece and holds her for ransom, he soon realizes he’s let his hatred control him for too long.
Fiona MacNicol isn’t afraid of her captor, not at first, but then Eoin fails to recognize the woman she is now from the scrawny child she was. When the truth comes to light, loves blooms, and her deepest wish comes true.
Eoin and Fiona are emotionally driven characters, and I really understood them and their plight. I disliked Bhaltair, but felt sorry for him at the same time. I enjoyed the story overall, but the pacing was a little slow.
3.5 Stars

In “The Taming of Mairi MacKenzie” by Sue-Ellen Welfonder, Mairi MacKenzie lives in a secret, hidden glen for protection and solitude even though most people believe the glen is haunted by the doomed souls of the dead and a banshee with healing powers.
Sir Gare MacTaggert desperately needs the banshee’s help, so he ventures into the glen and finds Mairi. They have both suffered from loss and pain, and through learning about each other’s painful past, they finally learn to heal.
I liked the story, but there’s more telling than showing. Troll the dog is adorable, but I don’t know why his name switched between Troll and Thor, and back again.
3 Stars

In “Stealing Moirra’s Heart” by Suzan Tisdale, Moirra Dondotter desperately needs a husband to help her take care of her farm and to protect her and her daughters. Unfortunately, she’s been widowed three times and has a reputation for being stubborn. No man wants her. Then she finds a man locked the pillory and makes him a proposition.
Alysander McCallum sees the spirited woman as his only way free from his prison, so he agrees to marry her. Though he’s determined to keep his secrets to himself, he wants to learn all of Moirra’s secrets and do what he can to protect his new family.
I absolutely loved this story. Alysander/John and Moirra have gone through rough times and both are dealing with pain and regret. Love bloomed from friendship and respect, and I really enjoyed their relationship.
Moirra’s four daughters are wonderful characters. They’re wise and strong, but also acted their age.
This novella has a HFN ending, but the H/h’s story is continued in a second book, which I’m interested in finding.
5 Stars

In “Spirit Stones” by Kate Robbins, Malcolm MacDonald, son of the MacDonald laird, hates the feud between his clan and the MacLeods, but he does his duty and fights his father’s war. During a successful raid on a small MacLeod village, he takes a woman captive, thinking she’s just a common wench who would be more than willing to spread her legs for him, even though her townspeople lay dead around them.
Sheona MacLeod, daughter of the MacLeod laird, is repulsed by the carnage, but she’s seen enough of battle to know that’s how life is when clans fight. Though her captor intrigues her, she refuses to give in to his kisses, at least until Malcolm’s father becomes a threat to her.
Though I liked this story, Malcolm doesn’t come across as a decent person in the beginning, but he does redeem himself throughout the book. Animosity and sexual tension sparked between the H/h, but they both fell madly in love with each other the first time they slept together. Despite the rush of their falling in love, the clan wars and politics were intriguing as well as the ghostly spiritual nature of the story.
4 Stars

In “A Tear for Memory” by Kathryn Lynn Davis, Cealia Rose is gifted with a second sight but can only see the truth, the past, and the future of the people she paints. When a mysterious man approaches her and asks her questions she never expected, her happy life starts to unravel.
Robert Hamilton knows more than he should. He and Cealia have a secret past she doesn’t remember, and he’s desperate for Cealia to know the truth.
I couldn’t connect with either Cealia or Robert/Rory. She often cried and acted immature, and Robert seemed more like a secondary character than the hero. The book is told mostly in Cealia’s POV with shifting into other characters, and seemed focused more on Cealia’s deceased mother, Lila, rather than on the H/h and their relationship.
3 Stars

In “A Jewel in the Vaults” by Lily Baldwin, Robbie MacKenzie knows only a life of pain and hunger. Born to a disgraced mother in the wretched underworld of Edinburgh, she grew up as a boy, struggling to survive. Now a young woman, she passes herself off as a lad to protect herself from the cruel men who would use and destroy her, never daring to dream she might escape the horror of her life.
Highlander Conall MacKay heads to the dreaded city to find his missing troublesome brother, but he needs a guide to help him navigate the slums. He finds a young lad, Robbie, and takes a liking to him. As they search for his brother, Conall soon realizes something is different about Robbie, and he vows to help the lad no matter what.
Robbie and Conall are amazing characters. Robbie, especially, is such a strong woman. Their friendship bloomed from mutual respect and admiration, and love soon followed once Conall learned the truth. The slums, the poverty, and the hopelessness of life, all of it was detailed and made so real. Tears came to my eyes more than once.
I sooooo loved this story and definitely recommend it. It’s my favorite in the anthology.
5 Stars

In “Lord Grayson’s Bride” by Tarah Scott, Lady Josephine Montagu loves her fiancé but is determined to ruin her reputation, so her fiancé will call off the wedding. She’s being blackmailed and refuses to tell anyone about it.
Nicholas, Lord Grayson, doesn’t understand why the woman he loves is flirting with other men. Though her actions hurt him, he forgives each indiscretion, determined to keep her no matter how much she betrays him.
I liked Nicholas for the most part, but I couldn’t connect with Josephine. She often acted foolish and childish, but had her family’s well being at heart. The villain was predictable, but he’s still a bad guy readers will love to hate.
The pacing is a little slow, but once Jo finally trusted Nick and her family with the truth, the book picked up speed.
3 Stars

I love how these novellas had the characters speaking with a Scottish accent and saying Scottish words. All of these stories could use a light edit to fix punctuation and/or spelling errors (I’m not talking about the Scottish words/pronunciations here). Some of the typos distracted me, but I still enjoyed the book.

Book Overall – 4 Stars

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