#BookReview: Highland Barbarian by Ruth Ryan Langan 4/5 Stars

Overview: Lowlander Meridith MacAlpin’s father has been murdered and making her the new Laird. Days after his funeral, she stands at the alter to be wed for the good of the clan. The accused murderer flies in killing her new husband and steals her away to his home in the Highlands. The more she struggles to get home, the more she is forced to see how the rumors of the “Highland Barbarian” are wrong. Even Mary, Queen of Scots, believes him to be a fair and honorable man. Meridith also learns the true nature of her dead husband’s family and their plot to kill her sisters and steal the family land. Though her heart belongs to her captor, she sneaks out in the dead of night and rides for home. With a minor detour she arrives safely just for a short rest before heading off for Edinburgh to speak with the Queen and settle all matters pertaining to her estate. Trouble follows her through the castle as she falls victim to one of Mary’s games, that sends Meridith home with a wound to her throat.

Opinion: The beginning is a little rough, but once you get into it, it is good. Sometimes it seems a bit heavy on the action, and sometimes there seems to be more that could have been done. It definitely keeps you on your toes and guessing about what is going to happen next. The few romantic sex scenes were short and a bit clumsy but that seems to be the biggest downfall.

Recommend: Yes

#BookReview: To Conquer a Highlander by Mary Wine 3/5 Stars

Overview: Shannon MacBoyd is the only daughter of The MacBoyd and treated poorly by her father for being a woman. After raiding MacLeren lands, MacBoyd ships her off as a prize to the man who helped her and promised to help him (her bethrothed) become king. Torin MacLeren wanted justice for the loss of his kin, and to stop the overthrow of the king; so he kidnapped Shannon and told authorities what her father had done. While waiting for word from the ruling regent King, Torin falls for Shannon and persues her, she resists at first but eventually gives into him. When word comes with the fate of Laird MacBoyd. Torin is called away to MacBoyd land and Shaneonon is taken to court without his knowledge. It is decided that she is to marry the man she loves or be hanged with her father and brothers. She and Torin marry, and have a son that Torin believed he would never have.
Opinion: It is good, but Shannon was a weakly written character. She always made sure to tell everyone that she is not a coward, or imply she has more backbone then other women. When it comes time for her to resist Torin, there is little to no resisting and quickly gives in to whatever he wants. Her father used to beat her, either she is going to fight back or be afraid of men. She half-heartedly pushes him away or tells him no and does it anyway. Yes at some point this is going to happen, usually toward the middle after giving up a good fight, but it is from the get go. Plus she gets ticked off about everything but really does nothing about it. She says she wants to go home, but makes only one attempt at running away (even after being left alone for multiple hours), she doesn’t want to be his lover but becomes his, doesn’t want to wear his clan colors and ends up wearing them. The big one, doesn’t want to marry him or carry his child but she does. Shannon says she is strong and can handle anything, but really she is weak and submissive.
Recommend: Maybe

#BookReview: The MacKinnon’s Bride by Tanya Anne Crosby 5/5 StarsAnn

Overview: Iain MacKinnon is Laird of the MacKinnon clan and full of guilt. His mother died giving birth to him, and then on the day his son was born his wife declared that she would rather die than have him touch her again. Then promptly leaped out of the tower window on to the jagged rocks of the moor below. Page is the daughter of a noble Englishman, and plagued with more than guilt, self-loathing. From the first moment she can remember, her father hated her and made it well known. He would hit her and treated her no better than he did a servant. Making it easy for her to sneak out at night for a swim, where she is kidnapped by the MacKinnon’s in hopes of retrieving Iain’s own kidnapped six year old son. Offering to trade the daughter for his son, Iain confronted Fitzsiomon, but soon learned he did not care what happened to Page. Threatening the life of the King, her father quickly handed the boy over and exclaiming he would kill his daughter if Iain brought her back. Not wanting to sacrifice her to that fate, or tell her what her father said, Iain told Page he was stealing her and taking her home with him. A long ride home, the two fought their own demons and growing love for each other. Both silently saying one could not love the other because of their pasts, not knowing the man who kidnapped the little boy was in their traveling group. Once home, passion ensues and all seems well for a few days, then everything explodes. Glenna, the midwife, locks herself in her home refusing to see anyone. Fitzsiomon comes to take his daughter back, bringing the Scottish King along to quell any trouble and the original kidnapper is revealed in a plot to kill both Page and the young boy.

Opinion: Loved it. The characters were so painfully real, that they almost seemed like satirical caricatures of real emotions. I laughed, I cried, became angry and frustrated. It is not often that one can find themselves so attuned to a character in a book, but for inexplicable reasons, I have found myself in this book and have no words for how much I love this book. Full of action and danger, it is not just a romance novel it is a thrill ride.

Recommend: Yes

Touchdown Interruption Chapter 1 Teaser

Chapter 1-The Snap

“Hey Dad, are the guys coming over for a game today?” I asked walking into the kitchen putting my long curly red hair into a loose hanging pony tail.
“Yea they are supposed to be here in an hour or so. Why?” Dad said as he put his cereal bowl in the sink and rinsed it out.
“Just wondering; is there any point in asking if I can finally play this time? Or am I still confined to watching from the sidelines?”
“Only one way to know is ask, Jez.” He said turning around and smiling.
Just then my step-mom came in carrying her yappy Pomeranian, “All she has to do is ask what? The answer is still no if you are trying to get out of going on the road with your father. I didn’t babysit your brothers during football season and I am not babysitting you. Besides it is your last year to spend time with your father until you move out and go to college.”
“Thank you Hayden, but that is not what I was asking. Dad, may I play in the backyard ball game with you guys today?”
“I will never understand you, why can’t you be like other girls and want to go shopping or something? It is not normal for a girl to want to rough house with a bunch of boys.” She set her dog down while she got him food out of the fridge.
“It’s ok that she’s not a girly-girl. You’re 17 now, and I think you could handle yourself out there why not? But unless you plan on playing in your pajamas, I think you should go change.” Dad said as he crossed the kitchen and put his hand on my shoulder.
I gave him a hug, “Thank you Daddy.” Then I ran off to my room to change into cut-off jean shorts and an old tee-shirt. I quickly braided my hair into two pigtails then wrapped them into a bun to keep from being pulled, or stepped on.

“Ok, Jezebel this is your shot to show us what you’re made of. Hike the ball and block Xavier for me. He will go easy on you since you’re a girl…no offense. Mike, find a hole and take it. I will get you the ball.” Dad said addressing my oldest brother Mike.
Mike asked, “How am I supposed to get past the Truck?” referring to our middle sibling who is as big as a small house.
“Well John will probably be too occupied watching what happens to your sister, and Bryce will come straight after me. For the first play this will work, second play will have to be a running one.”

Pick it up at my amazon page

#Musical Monday Review #19 Beauty and the Beast

Overview: A selfish prince is cursed by a witch for not helping her. His curse is for him to be disfigured as a hideous beast, and all those who dwell within his castle are also transformed into animated household items until his 21st birthday. In town Belle is a normal girl who enjoys reading more than trying to attract suitors, so the other townspeople believe her to be odd. Her father is known as a crackpot inventor, and is believed to be the source of her weirdness. Gaston, local playboy and jerk, has set his sights on Belle simply based on her beauty. Spurring his affections, she focuses more on helping her father look after the farm while he goes to an investor’s convention. Belle’s father soon becomes trapped by the Prince and sends his horse, Phillipe to find Belle and rescue him. Gaston plans to have him committed once he is back in town, after Belle trades places with him. Once the beast has Belle, he tries to be nice but she only sees a kidnapping monster and he sees a stubborn girl. Over time they grow close and learn to love each other, but Belle has to leave to save her father from Gaston. Finding the beast is real and won the heart of Belle, Gaston leads a mob back to the castle in order to kill it. The house fights back, but the beast has been mortally wounded. With one kiss from Belle, the curse is broken and everyone lives happily ever after.

Opinion: Who doesn’t love a good Disney Princess Movie (DPM)? This one is my mom’s particular favorite. As a kid, I would watch it over and over but I can’t say it was my ultimate favorite. I do think it was my first DPM though.

It is a good story to learn that appearances don’t matter, don’t be selfish and that people are different. Then if you look past the Disney filter, things become a bit creepy. For instance, Belle has wicked sisters in the original and the beast allows her to go home for a visit as long as she is only gone a week. The sisters become jealous and try to talk her into staying longer, so when she returns the beast will (hopefully) eat her. Then there’s the witch cursing a boy of 10 or 11 because he wouldn’t let her into the castle. This why they invented “Stranger Danger?” It’s a bit excessive if you ask me. Disney covered it up by making it seem as if the boy was a teenager or so, but the original story says something about a ten year gap between the beginning of the curse and the time Belle goes to him. If the spell has to be broken by his 21st birthday, given the time gap, the curse began at 10 or 11.

While Disney tried to cover the creepy, they made it creepy by making the beast seem evil. In the original he was kind and giving to Belle and asked her to marry him every night, only to be turned down because she regarded him as a friend.

Back to the movie.

Being the practical child I was, Cogsworth has always been my favorite character. He is the one person that seems to make any logical sense as everyone else is trying to manipulate Belle or her father in the beginning. He was the voice of reason and I identified more with him then the others for that reason. Plus he was smart and because of him I wanted to learn more about the baroque period and have flying buttresses in my house.

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Before I reveal my favorite song, I’d like to rant for a minute. The Special Edition that was released in 2003, and the version I happened to watch for this post, irritates me. Back on the cutting room floor a song was taken from the film and released without it because it didn’t add to the show and just stalled the story line. When they released the Special Edition, the editors decided to add the song in order for the consumers to get more for their money. The movie was perfect with out the song “Human Again” and instead of just adding it as a special feature they put it on the main feature forcing you to watch it. I know it’s not that big of a deal but it is annoying to fast forward through it. Then I feel sorry for the little children who won’t be able to see the movie in all of its original glory, instead being subjected to the pointless scene.

Favorite song is ” Something There.” It’s a short song when they are starting to fall for each other. They are running around and playing in the snow, genuinely getting to know one another. It is such a sweet scene and the song is beautiful.

Favorite choreography has to go to “Be Our Guest.” One there isn’t much choreography to begin with and two it is just an amazing scene. Silverware, pots, pans and flower vases dancing and putting on a show for Belle for dinner.

Favorite scene is the battle at the end because I love it when the wardrobe let’s out a battle cry, jumps through the air and lands on a man who comes out dressed as a woman.

#BookReview: Night School: Legacy 5/5 Stars

Overview: Summer term has ended and Allie is home for a little while. One week into break, she goes out to meet up with friends at the park and is forced to cut her time short as she is attacked. Her new best friend’s dad rescues her and takes her to his home fortress, but after a few days the adults believe she would be safer back at the school. Cimmera is still undergoing renovations from the fire and she is put to work with her friends. Once the school term starts she finds herself enrolled in Night school so she can be taught self-defense and be kept in the loop of what is going on. Fighting wit her new boyfriend, she turns to her ex for help when she is contacted by an unlikely enemy. After this second attack, everyone is on pins and needles for the upcoming dance. There are going to world leaders and politicians present and Allie just knows there enemies are going to try something. When the ball comes and goes without incident, the Night School students and staff seam to ease up a bit…just in time for the enemies to strike. Allie then has to save herself and hopefully the life of a friend’s as well.

Review: This book seemed a little lighter than the last action wise, but it is still packed full of it. Plus we are getting more answers. The stakes are raised as Allie is changing more and more. The words just fly off the pages, making it hard for you to put down!

#Musical Monday Review #6: Annie

Overview: Annie is an orphan, living in an orphanage for girls, run by Miss Hannigan. Though Annie can be a bit of a trouble maker, Miss Hannigan is crazy and punishes all the girls for everything. In a publicity stunt, billionaire Oliver Warbucks sends his assistant to pick up an orphan to share his home with for a week. By the end of the week Annie has charmed her way into his heart and he decides he wants to adopt her. However Annie puts the breakes on, because she has been waiting for her parents and believes they are still out there. Warbucks offers to find them, and puts out a reward for any information on them. Miss Hannigan and her brother concoct a plan to disguise themselves as her parents for the reward money. Hannigan, who secretly loves Annie, has a change of heart and wants to turn back but her brother won’t let her. Warbucks finds out he was conned and has to save Annie in a helicopter. In the end Annie gets a new home and all is well.

Opinion: It’s a sweet musical, where Warbucks learns to soften his heart and we learn the power of love. The idea of adopting for a week as a publicity stunt is horrible, but needed to be done in order to start the show. If Warbucks was open to adoption in the beginning, there wouldn’t be anywhere for the show to go.

Quick fact: this is the movie I fell in love with Tim Curry who plays Rooster, Hannigan’s brother.

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My favorite song for choreography would have to be “We Got Annie.” It’s the best song to see dance from the time period and a couple different cultures.

Favorite song would have to be “Just Sign,” Warbucks is trying to get Hannigan to sign the adoption papers, and ends up blackmailing her to do so. He even tells her he had Herbert Hoover spying on her.