Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review: Taming a Wild Scot

TAMING A WILD SCOT
Claimed by the Highlander #1
Rowan Keats
Adult Historical Romance
368 pages
Signet/ Penguin
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
In the Highlands of Scotland, plays for power are fought without rules, treachery and intrigue hold court, and, in one woman’s heart, danger stirs as relentlessly as passion...

Wrongfully accused of murder and left to die in a hellish Highland dungeon, Ana Bisset has lost all hope of freedom. But the beautiful healer’s luck takes an unexpected turn when a hooded stranger appears as her rescuer. After a harrowing escape, Ana settles alone in a quiet village where no one knows her past or her reputation. The last thing she ever expects is to meet her mysterious savior again...

Niall MacCurran is no hero, but a warrior on a dangerous mission to expose a threat to the realm. After his decision to free Ana, he now realizes that it is he who needs her help—willing or no—to advance his quest. But his growing feelings for the delicate yet resilient beauty soon jeopardize their safety—and not even Ana’s healing gifts may be enough to protect their love, or their lives.


MY THOUGHTS
Taming a Wild Scot is a solid start to this new highlander series, delighting us with a heroine who can more than handle herself and surprising us by adding a paranormal touch to the historical setting. It's not difficult to guess the basic path this story is going to take when we pick it up–any lover of romance well knows the overall plot arc in advance–so what truly matters is the journey our couple takes in order to be together, and a few small niggles and flaws aside, Ana and Niall's path to happiness is an enjoyable one. The two of them together are a slow burn, any brief sparks that ignite quickly extinguished by an underlying antagonism to their relationship, making their courtship one full of thorns that poke and prod and keep us flipping the pages to see if the next chapter will bring them any closer together.

Ana is heroine who defies what's expected of women in her time, vehemently disagreeing with a fanatical friar and his views on women, wives, and witchcraft, and proving to us again and again that while Niall assisted her escape from the dungeon in the beginning, it's she who continues to save herself. She's a gifted and outspoken healer, wary of saying too much for fear she'll meet the same fate as her mother, but she's also not one to stay silent when doing so would cause others harm. She never cowers despite Niall's short temper and apparent indifference to her feelings, giving him a piece of her mind in private even as she acquiesces to his demands in public in order to maintain their ruse as husband and subservient wife. Ana is smart, brave and extraordinarily resourceful, shining so brightly as to dim Niall's own light at times, leaving him the far less interesting of the two.

There are many moments in this story when Niall is everything we love in a highlander hero: gruff, alpha, and seemingly unsuitable as husband material in the beginning only to soften as the story progresses thanks to charms of one fiery redhead. That being said however, he never seems as invested in the romance as Ana is–cutting her off at the ankles one minute only to wrap her up in his arms the next–so his declaration of love at the end lacks the believability of hers, causing us to wish for a few more chapters in which he could show us that his interest in Ana extends far beyond the physical. He clearly feels protective of her, but the emotional connection feels heavily one-sided, leaving us feeling a bit stuck in place even as things move forward, waiting a touch in vain for the moment when he realizes how much she means to him.

Though the romantic pair in this first book isn't entirely equal in terms of our attachment to them, Taming a Wild Scot is still a fun historical romance with an interesting cast of secondary characters who will no doubt step into the spotlight on their own as the series continues.

Rating: 3.5/5


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This book was sent to me by the publisher  free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

37 comments:

  1. I've never been one for Highlander romance, but lately I've been swept away by guys with Scottish accents. Perhaps I should give it another try. By the way, did you know John Barrowman of Torchwood is Scottish? He moved to the US when he was about 10 and picked up an American accent.

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    1. I did know that! I saw an interview where he spoke with his Scottish accent and I fell a little more in love with him then:)

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  2. *sits up* Highlanders? Yes I am in

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    1. I'm always on board with highlanders:):)

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  3. This sounds like a great read, Jenny. I only read one historical adult romance ever but I really liked it though I'm not sure if I'm going to read another soon. I'll keep this on my watchlist though. Thanks for sharing this, Jenny!

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    1. I need to read some really different genres in between my preferred paranormal YA genre, so this book was something really fun for me. I tend to read a lot of adult romances, I just don't review them as often on the blog.

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  4. I actually haven't read any of these Highlander Romances, but I'm curious enough to try one someday. Perhaps not this one, but I'll be looking out for this series for sure.

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    1. They're so much fun Keertana! If you do decide to pick one up, I would suggest starting with either Julie Garwood's The Bride or Maya Banks' highlander books:)

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  5. Weird confession time: I am not a fan of the Scottish things. I don't know why - I adore almost all accents, but the Scottish one is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

    =/

    I have problems, Jenny.

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    1. YOU CERTAINLY DO HANNAH!!! *dies* I'm obsessed with Scottish accents even though I can't understand what they're saying half the time. It doesn't even matter, I would listen to them recite the phone book:)

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  6. Hmm. I was totally on board until you mentioned the uneven relationship. Dammit, I want my heroes to fall so hard it hurts (emotionally, of course). Still.... YAY HIGHLANDERS!

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    1. Right? I just wanted a bit more from Niall. I felt like Ana was certainly in love, but I wasn't entirely sold on his feelings.

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  7. Even though that darned guy doesn't sound as fully invested as Ana, my heart still skipped a beat with the title. You KNOW I'm a Scotiphile!! (Is there such a word? There should be. AND NOW THERE IS!)

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    1. I officially label myself a Scotiphile as well. Watch, that probably is an actual word but it's something horrifying and we're all YAY SCOTIPHILES!

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  8. Niall seems a bit hot and cold, which would probably bug the crap out of me, but I could probably forgive him just because he's shirtless and wearing a kilt. I"m okay with that. I enjoy the Highlanders series though, and I really can't wait to read this one now, too! Great review, Jenny!

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    1. I find my capacity for forgiveness is directly linked to a man's shirtlessness and kilt-wearing. So yes, Niall gets a bit of a pass for his hot and cold nature:)

      If you haven't read Maya Banks' highlander books, READ THEM. They are awesome.

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  9. Oh too bad about Niall. Having an unbelievable hero emotionally is the worst. I think I might skip this one and try another Highlander book.

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    1. I did like Niall overall, I just didn't entirely believe in his love in the end. I wanted him to prove it just a bit more:)

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  10. I've read a lot of historical romances but never a highlander one although I know there are millions out there. This sounds like it's interesting and I love love love how Ana seems to be a strong MC. So often, the heroines come across as weak in adult romances, so I'm glad to hear that.
    It's a shame that the romance seems mostly one-sided though. That would definitely frustrate me as well.
    Fabulous review, Jenny!

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    1. Ana was fantastic, especially in the face of a friar who had an appallingly low opinion of women. Though of course, I'm sure it was fitting for the time period, but it still didn't make me want to throttle him any less:)

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  11. Believe it or not I have never read a highlander romance, well actually that isn't true, I did read the Outlander series which do have a whole lot of scots in them and best of all Jamie Frazier!! I adore him.

    Ahem, sorry, off topic. I am glad you liked this one jenny. I will have to keep it in mind when I am ready for something like this.

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    1. If you liked Outlander, I think you would enjoy some of these highlander romances Ali. If you ever want recommendations, let me know!

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  12. Jenny, I think this read would be good for me. Being that I adore men with accents and Hot bodies...hhhmmm....

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    1. Accents and kilts for the win Savy!

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  13. Well I love a man in a kilt, but so disappointed that you weren't able to feel or at least see his feelings for her. I love when one character pushes back, and denies but usually the author has me firmly convinced through their actions and responses that they are indeed in love, just not ready to accept it. Wonderful review Jenny

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  14. Ana sounds like a character I'd enjoy, what with going against the social norm and all, but it's Niall who worries me. Lack of emotional response can ruin a book like this for me so that's the part I'm most unsure about.
    I've never read a highlander book before, but I'm all about alpha males. :)

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  15. Yeah for fun historical romances with throwback covers. Actually I think I picked this one up because I am in a huge historical romance mood!

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  16. Hm... this does sound like a fun highlander book. Despite it's flaws it might be good when I'm in the mood for a historical romance. Although I admit I would probably read it more for Ana than Niall.

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  17. Nice review! I've been wanting to read some new highlander books, but I've seen some mixed reviews for this one. I went to B&N the other day and was debating between Taming a Wild Scot and Kinked by Thea Harrison. I ended up going with Kinked. Though maybe I'll go back and get this one too. I could always use some more highlander books. ;)

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  18. Hee, I don't know that Highlander romance is for me, but I do love Scotland! I think if I were to read a highlander romance, I would definitely want it the emotional connection to be felt equally on both sides. I don't think I could really enjoy or be attracted to Niall in any way if he were acting like that. So I will keep my eye out for a more romantic highlander read, I think! Really great review though, Jenny!

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  19. I just had to laugh out loud for this title. I mean lol and then the cover. Funny. This doesn't sound like my type of read but I'm glad you enjoyed it overall. Great review, Jenny :)

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  20. I don't typically read much historical fiction, but there is just something about Scottish Highlanders that just sucks me right in. Nice review Jenny!

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  21. Oh those Scottish Highlanders! Just cannot get enough of them! Despite the flaws and a disappointing emotional declaration, I'll be reading this one. I've been missing these guys!

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  22. Oh boy, I love highlanders and this one pictured in a kilt can carry me off to his clan any time! ;) Sounds like he's a bit of a disappointment which is a shame, especially when the heroine sounds so wonderful.

    I enjoyed Maya Banks first two books of her highlander series, so I'm definitely on board with a story like this. Lovely review, Jenny! :)

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  23. Ana sounds wonderful, but I hate when a romance lacks emotional development (usually the physical is no problem with these alpha highlanders :D). I might still give this one a try, because I seem to have a weakness for any highlander romance. :-) Great honest review Jenny!

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  24. I'm reading a historical romance right now and am feeling exactly the same way. It's a good read but the guys is so indecisive, it's hard to know if he even really likes her. That seems to be the way of this genre much of the time though. As long as the characters are still likable and we get to know them, then I'm usually okay. It's a bit disappointing that he doesn't seem more invested though.

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  25. What is it about a man with an accent and a kilt that is so hot? I'm glad this heroine is also one who can stand on her own two feet, but I hate leaving a book not convinced that the couple will make it. I definitely know what you mean about feeling like the guy is still a bit wishy-washy - like if she doesn't put out satisfactorily he might go somewhere else, so I think I might skip this one. But I'm glad it was a fun book overall.

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