**ARC REVIEW** ~ Rebel Warrior (Medieval Warriors #3), by Regan Walker

Historical Medieval Romance

Rebel warrior

Blurb

“Master storytelling transports you to medieval Scotland!”
Paula Quinn, NY Times Bestselling Author

When your destiny lies far from where you began …

Scotland 1072

The Norman Conqueror robbed Steinar of Talisand of his noble father and his lands, forcing him to flee to Scotland while still recovering from a devastating wound. At the royal court, Steinar becomes scribe to the unlettered King of Scots while secretly regaining his skill with a sword.

The first time Steinar glimpses the flame-haired maiden, Catrìona of the Vale of Leven, he is drawn to her spirited beauty. She does not fit among the ladies who serve the devout queen. Not pious, not obedient and not given to stitchery, the firebrand flies a falcon! Though Catrìona captures Steinar’s attention, he is only a scribe and she is promised to another.

Catrìona has come to Malcolm’s court wounded in spirit from the vicious attack on her home by Northmen who slayed her parents and her people. But that is not all she will suffer. The man she thought to wed will soon betray her.

When all is lost, what hope is there for love? Can a broken heart be mended? Can a damaged soul be healed?

My Review

Spellbinding and Expertly Crafted ~ ***** (Five Stars)

Set in Scotland in the years following the 1066 Norman invasion of England, Regan Walker’s Rebel Warrior (#3 in the Medieval Warriors series), is a spellbinding romantic read which has been meticulously researched and expertly crafted. The past came alive for me whilst reading and I left the 21st century and lived and breathed through the lives of the characters in the book.

Catriona and her brother Niall suffer a cruel blow when their parents and kinsfolk are killed in a Viking raid. The orphaned Catriona finds herself at the royal court as one of the Queen’s ladies. Her growing friendship and attraction she has to the King’s scribe Steinar becomes more and more important to her. The actions of  Domnall, her betrothed, increasingly perplex her and his ultimate betrayal is heart-breaking to a young woman who is already attempting to come to terms with her tragic loss. Can Catriona ever trust again?

The romance between Catriona and Steinar is full of fire and humour as the couple indulge in many scenes of verbal sparring. Regan Walker’s heroines certainly have plenty of backbone! Steinar falls hard for the wild, beautiful and yet fragile Catriona and she in turn is attracted to his good looks, charm and inner and outer strength. Although there is more to Steinar than meets the eye, his current station in life is not high enough for one of the Queen’s ladies, and he can only look on as King Malcolm contrives to marry Catriona to another.

I really felt for both Catriona and Steinar. Both have suffered terrible personal losses and have little control over their destinies. They are well matched – Steinar being the only man at court to fully appreciate the lively and headstrong young woman, and Catriona’s attraction to Steinar grows the more she experiences his humour, honour and strength. The path to true love is never easy, yet Regan Walker leads the reader to an entertaining, realistic and worthy HEA.

Most of the action takes place at the court of king Malcolm of Scotland and his devoted and devout Anglo-Saxon Queen Margaret. There are also a number of vividly portrayed battle scenes. Regan Walker’s characters are complex and well-rounded and in her hands real historical figures merge seamlessly with those from her imagination. The book can be read as a standalone, but I also enjoyed meeting characters who featured in The Red Wolf’s Prize and Rogue Knight, particularly the Welsh bard Rhodri whose own story is interwoven into the plot.

I loved the read and wholeheartedly recommended it to readers of Historical Romance.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

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*BOOK BLAST* ~ TO DREAM OF A HIGHLANDER (Highland Fae Chronicles), by Samantha Holt ~ Book Blurb and Personal Review

1010856_689421744447989_5886160877122772037_nA Passionate and Magical Highland Romance!

Book Blurb

Scotland, 1230 Sent on a rescue mission, Finn Mac Chaluim is prepared to do his duty, hand over the lass and return home. But fate has other ideas.

In the midst of a Norse invasion, Catriona barely escapes with her life. Masquerading as her sister, she finds herself in the hands of Finn who intends to hand her over to her sister’s betrothed, Laird Gillean. In the interests of bringing peace to her home, Catriona is determined to continue the ruse—even if it means going along with the marriage and denying her growing attraction to a man who keeps his hurts hidden behind a quick grin. If the green faery, Tèile, has anything to do with it, Catriona and Finn will come together—but only at the right time. Thanks to her last attempt at matchmaking, many paths were changed and now it’s up to her to put it right. Can she help Finn— who learned the hard way that sharing your life with someone only leads to heartache—get past his doubts? And will the battle-scarred Catriona even accept him into her heart? When Laird Gillean’s attentions toward Catriona become dangerous, both Finn and Tèile will find they have an uphill battle on their hands.

My Review

Passion combines with danger, faery magic and subterfuge in To Dream of a Highlander, another sensual Highland romance from Samantha Holt. I found it to be another super read from an author who never fails to deliver in whatever genre she is writing in.

Finn, who appears in the previous novel, To Steal A Highlander’s Heart, is a hero whom I very quickly fell in love with. Despite his jovial manner, this handsome warrior is still mourning the loss of his first love, his wife who died in childbirth. When Finn first casts eyes on Catriona, he feels that she is familiar to him somehow, and comes to realise that she is the very woman who has been haunting his dreams…..

Finn believes that Catriona, who unbeknown to him, is masquerading as her twin Katelyn, is destined for another. He is constantly at war with himself over his wild attraction to her and his fear that he cannot let himself love again, being convinced that he failed his first love. However, when he realises that Catriona is in danger he will do his utmost to protect her, laying his life on the line. I just loved how the author portrayed Finn’s inner struggle and really felt for him throughout.

Catriona is both a strong yet vulnerable heroine and I immediately admired her bravery in coping with the bloody and brutal Viking attack on her father’s keep. Although in the initial confusion she at first fears that Finn is  another Viking, she is drawn to him, due to his thoughtful behaviour, easy humour and the care he takes of her. Once she realises that he is her saviour she finds it difficult not to succumb to her attraction. It is Finn she turns to for support as she strives to cope with the memories of the attack on her childhood home and person, a traumatic experience that plagues her.

The scenes between the couple are both tender and passionate as they both struggle with their own inner demons, but neither can deny their mutual attraction for too long! Sexual tension is high and passion refuses to be denied between them, and they come together in a number of scorching swoonworthy scenes which I LOVED!

Catriona is determined to put the safety of the people of Bute first and continues to masquerade as her sister, even as she places herself in danger, for it seems she cannot escape the impending marriage to Laird Guillem. Will Finn put his fears aside and realise Catriona is destined for him alone or will she belong to another who may not have her best interests at heart? Also how will he and her prospective bridegroom react to Catriona’s deceit?

The antics and magic of the faerie Tiele, tasked by the Sidhe Council to bring Finn and Catriona together, are pivotal to the plot and are often amusing in the effect that they have on the couple, particularly Finn! Once again Tiele finds that the hearts of humans are far from easy to control. The supporting characters were well portrayed, in particular the widow Lorna, Finn’s sister, and her brother-in-law, Lord Guilleam who is her overlord and Catriona’s betrothed.

To Dream of A Highlander is another awesome read from this author and I recommend it to lovers of sensual  historical romances, especially those who love tales featuring hot Highland warriors and feisty heroines!

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

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