📚’A slow-build romance and I was in no rush to see it reach the end.’ Rosie’s #Bookreview of #ContemporaryRomance Dark Highland Skies by @lizzie_lamb #BookTwitter

Dark Highland SkiesDark Highland Skies by Lizzie Lamb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dark Highland Skies is a contemporary romance set in the Scottish highlands.

Astrophysicist Halley Dunbar has come to Lochaber to arrange the funeral for her Great Uncle Tam. As a teenager she spent many summers with her uncle in his salmon bothy, but she hasn’t been back for twenty years.

Hector (Tor) Strachan is struggling to come to terms with civilian life after the end of his army career. As the laird’s son he’s expected to perform his duties, but an injury from his time in the army and PTSD are taking their toll.

While Tor and Halley start off on the wrong foot, they find mutual friendship as together they organise Tam’s funeral, but will there ever be anything else between them other than friendship?

This book has a lovely setting and a wonderful cast of characters. There are several unusual careers which made me chuckle at times, while I quite fancied a few quiet nights away in the old salmon bothy or Tor’s Airstream myself. This is slow-build romance and I was in no rush to see it reach the end as I was quite enjoying my armchair travel to remote Scotland.

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Book description

Astrophysicist Halley Dunbar has spent her career peering into the space hoping to find the one-in-a-billion exoplanet outside our solar system capable of sustaining life. Such a find would be the climax of her scientific career and establish her as a force majeure in a male-dominated world. When her great-uncle dies, she travels to Lochaber in Scotland to arrange his funeral, reluctant to leave her research and her million-pound telescope behind in Hawaii. In Scotland, she encounters an assortment of characters who make her realise there’s more to life than searching for something that might not exist. The years are ticking by and Halley (35), starts to question the life she’s chosen. When the laird’s son, Tor Strachan, rocks up, he turns her world upside down and Halley discovers, not the new exoplanet she’s spent her academic life searching for, but the one-in-a-billion man who can make her happy. Forced to question her life choices, Halley wonders if she’ll be able to return to stargazing and leave behind a place and a man she’s come to love. However, Afghan veteran Tor has demons of his own to confront before he can be the man Halley deserves. And, as for Halley, she has secrets of her own; ones she can’t share with anyone, including Tor.

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💕#ContemporaryRomance Set Mainly In Scotland. Rosie’s #Bookreview of The Bookshop On The Shore by @jennycolgan #TuesdayBookBlog

The Bookshop on the ShoreThe Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Bookshop On The Shore is a contemporary romance set mainly in Scotland.

Single mother Zoe can no longer afford her London home, so she jumps at the opportunity of a job and a rent-free home in Scotland. Here her duties will involve light nanny work while covering maternity leave for a mobile book shop. It all sounds perfect!

However, The Beeches is an old homestead with three unruly motherless children, and Zoe is their latest in a long list of nannies. She must traverse the tricky minefield of their childhood, while attempting to bring order to the house. Her other role is to drive a mobile book shop around the villages; she’s filling the shoes of a bookseller who knows all the nuances of her demanding customers.

This is a fun book, with a sprinkle of romance. Much of the book focuses on children and books, all in a wonderful wild Scottish setting. A light-hearted story that would suit fans of a feel-good book.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Orange rose book description
Book description

A grand baronial house on Loch Ness, a quirky small-town bookseller, and a single mom looking for a fresh start all come together in this witty and warm-hearted novel by New York Times bestselling author Jenny Colgan.

Desperate to escape from London, single mother Zoe wants to build a new life for herself and her son Hari. She can barely afford the crammed studio apartment on a busy street where honking horns and shouting football fans keep them awake all night. If she doesn’t find a way out soon, Zoe knows it’s just a matter of time before she has a complete meltdown. On a whim, she answers an ad for a nanny job in the Scottish Highlands, which is about as far away from the urban crush of London as possible. It sounds heavenly!

The job description asks for someone capable of caring for three “gifted children”, two of which behave feral wolverines. The children’s widowed father is a wreck, and the kids run wild in a huge tumbledown castle on the heather-strewn banks of Loch Ness. Still, the peaceful, picturesque location is everything London is not—and Zoe rises to the challenges of the job.

With the help of Nina, the friendly local bookseller, Zoe begins to put down roots in the community. Are books, fresh air, and kindness enough to heal this broken family—and her own…?

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📚Set in 1st century Northern Scotland. @LizanneLloyd reviews #HistoricalRomance Sisters At The Edge Of The World by @AilishSinclair for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Liz.

Liz blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Liz has been reading Sisters At The Edge Of The World by Ailish Sinclair

Sisters At The Edge Of The World by Ailish Sinclair

In the same part of Aberdeenshire that is the setting for the earlier books written by Ailish Sinclair, the reader returns to the stone circle but in much earlier times, circa AD 83, when the Romans attempted to stretch the boundaries of their Empire, marching to the far north of Scotland. There lived the Taezali, a Caledonian tribe living simple, satisfying lives. Our heroine, Morragh, an orphan, is a seer, believed to know the future, even though she does not speak. Cared for her by her strong sister, Onnagh, Morragh has visions, believing she can communicate with the Goddess, but in a surprising introduction, her life changes forever.

As she travels to Cullakhan Bay with her tribe, Morragh finds herself to be a bridge between the Men of Mars and her own people. She meets the Calgach, a Celtic leader who will lead them into battle against the Romans. She likes and admires him but knows that he will not survive.

Are they not magnificent?” asks the Calgach, striding towards me through the camp, his hair loose and flowing back in the breeze today. He looks like the God of this sea, this great ocean, strong and invulnerable and beautiful.

This is a complex mystical tale of bloody conflict between two disparate civilisations, but also about sisterhood, romantic love and dramatic choices. Morragh is not like most of us. Her actions are instinctive and passionate, but her certainty is persuasive. A thought-provoking story seated in the traditions and superstitions of the past.

Orange rose book description
Book description

When Morragh speaks to another person for the very first time, she has no idea that he is an invader in her land.

What she does next constitutes a huge betrayal of her people, threatening her closest relationships and even her way of life itself.

As the conflict between the Caledonian tribes and the Roman Sons of Mars intensifies, can she use her high status in the community to lessen the coming death toll or even prevent outright war?

Set in 1st century Northern Scotland, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD is a story of chosen sisters, fierce warriors, divided loyalties and, ultimately, love.

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🏞 A #Mystery Set In Scotland. @TerryTyler4 Reviews The Way Light Bends by Lorraine Wilson @raine_clouds @LunaPressGlobal For Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Terry.

Terry blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.com/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Terry has been reading The Way The Light Bends by Lorraine Wilson.

Book cover for mystery, The Way Light Bends by Lorraine Wilson, set against a photo of clouds from a free picture from Pixabay.
The Way Light Bends by Lorraine Wilson

4 out of 5 stars

An interesting and unusual book that centres around two sisters: the unconventional, wildhearted Tamsin who cannot come to terms with the death of her twin brother, Rob, and perfect Freya, the older sibling with the perfect husand and perfect job. Then, a year after Rob’s death, Tamsin disappears without trace, as does her boyfriend, a curious and shadowy figure about whom nobody knows anything much at all.

The book is written in two time frames, and from two points of view – Tamsin tells her story in the first person, gradually letting the reader into the turmoil in her mind, and showing what led up to her disappearance. Freya’s sections are told in the third person – these are good choices, just right for the story. Freya’s account shows her own, deepening turmoil as she grieves for Rob and becomes obsessed with finding Tamsin; she feels increasingly isolated, and begins to question everything about the way her family lives.

The setting is Scotland; Perth, St Andrews and a couple of other locations. Tamsin and her friends worked in the grounds of old country house, and ran ‘forest schools’ for children; I loved all the detail about this. The novel is beautifully written and flows so well.

Any negatives? Sometimes I felt the descriptive passages were a little long-winded, when I wanted to get on with the story and find out what Tamsin’s mysterious boyfriend was all about, and I was underwhelmed by the ending, which I thought a little wishy-washy after the build-up, but I did enjoy reading this book; much of the prose has an almost poetic, ethereal quality to it, reflecting the subject matter, and certainly the author should be proud of it.

Orange rose book description
Book description

Sometimes hope is the most dangerous thing of all.

When their brother dies, two sisters lose the one thing that connected them.
But then a year after her twin’s death, Tamsin goes missing.

Despite police indifference and her husband’s doubts, Freya is determined to
find her sister. But a trail of diary entries reveals a woman she barely knew,
and a danger she can scarcely fathom, full of deep waters and shadowy myths,
where the grief that drove Tamsin to the edge of a cliff also led her into the
arms of a mysterious stranger … A man who promised hope but demanded

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📚For Those Who ‘love a good historical #mystery’ Noelle reviews Dark Hunter by F.J. Watson, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT.📚

Today’s team review is from Noelle.

She blogs here https://saylingaway.wordpress.com

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Noelle has been reading Dark Hunter by F. J. Watson

Historical Mystery

I do love a good historical mystery, and Fiona Watson has written an atmospheric and compelling one, set in the city of Berwick-upon-Tweed in the early 14th century.

In the year 1317, a young and pious squire named Benedict Russell is sent to the English-held garrison of Berwick-upon-Tweed, a town sitting on the border between Scotland and England. The town’s strategic position and relative wealth had previously resulted in a succession of raids, sieges and takeovers during centuries of war between these two countries. Three years earlier to Benedict’s arrival, the Scots, led by Robert the Bruce, had won a massive victory at the battle of Bannockburn and were raiding over the border. Edward II decided to send reinforcements to Berwick in case of an attack.

Benedict is learned – he can read and write – and is belittled by his fellow squires, who are more trained in the art of swordplay and warfare. He discovers through keen observation and a little diversion that the knight supplying food to the garrison is diverting money into his own accounts. Recognition of his ability gets him the task of discovering who murdered a beautiful young girl, one whom Benedict lusted after, and left her mutilated body outside the city’s walls. Benedict must decide if the murder was a crime of passion or one which involves a traitor or spy for the Scots.

The pace of discovery as Benedict works through various clues is deliberate, as would be for a sleuth of that time, but introduces the reader to the realities of life in the 14th century: the poverty and squalor set against the wealth of the ruling class, the hierarchy amongst the knights and their treatment of servants, and women as chattel to be used as pawns. The author draws on her knowledge of conditions of daily life, religious practices, practices of medieval punishment, food, drink, clothes, weapons, and social distinctions to put the reader firmly inside a city awaiting a siege, with all of the tension exacerbated by the murder.

This is also a coming-of-age story as Benedict slowly becomes a man and discovers his own reserves of strength and ability to love. The secondary characters are very well-drawn, from the knights and squires to the various townspeople Benedict comes to know, from apprentices to paupers. I was especially drawn to the murdered girl’s sister, who becomes a valuable companion to Benedict. She is afflicted with something I interpret as scoliosis, which makes her the butt of derision, but she has an intelligent and unusually perceptive mind trapped in her twisted body.

I very much appreciate that the author did not attempt to make the language of the day mock-medieval. She did write the story in the present tense, however, as is becoming common more recently. As a reader, I find it makes the story-telling more immediate but slows the pace of the story.

This is an excellent first fictional outing for a medieval scholar and I highly recommend this to mystery and historical fiction aficionados.

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The year is 1317, and young squire Benedict Russell has joined the English-held garrison of Berwick-upon-Tweed after the spectacular Scottish victory at Bannockburn three years earlier.

Serious and self-doubting, he can’t wait for his time there to come to an end. Living on the disputed territory between Scotland and England is a precarious existence, and as the Scots draw ever closer and the English king does nothing to stop them, Benedict finds himself in a race against time to solve the brutal murder of a young girl and find the traitor who lurks within Berwick’s walls.

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Pendragon Devon Is The MC In #YoungAdult Magical #Fantasy Honour’s Rest by Judith Crow @jayzed_kay @CrowvusLit

Honour's RestHonour’s Rest by Judith Crow

4 stars

Honour’s Rest is book one of The Rite Way series of young adult magical fantasy stories. The story is set manly in Scotland and is about a teenage boy who discovers that he has inherited an ability to manipulate things around him in a magical process known as The Rite.

Pendragon (Pen) Devon is sent to stay with his uncle in a remote Scottish castle after pushing a school bully into a lake. Even though Pen was sitting in the library at the time, this was the first example of The Rite appearing in Pen. He must learn to control The Rite under the tutelage of his Uncle Napier, who is the Rendelf or overseer of The Rite in all of the United Kingdom. During their time together Pen makes friends with Marley and Niamh, two youngsters who will help him with all the responsibilities that becoming the Rendelf’s apprentice holds.

I enjoyed this story; the world-building was good and the Scottish setting was delightful. There’s quite a lot for Pen to learn and he often gets angry, which became a bit boring after a while. However, it didn’t detract from the main narrative which moved at a good pace. The book ends with a good set-up for the next one in the series which I shall look forward to reading.

There were aspects of the story which reminded me of Harry Potter: the Scottish castle with its loch, a young boy growing into his magic, two friends to help him on his adventures and someone to teach him who I couldn’t help picturing as Professor Snape. So if you enjoy similar magical adventures, then this might be a good series to start reading.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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“So, it’s – what – like magic?”

No, according to Pen’s uncle, the Rite is not magic at all. But, if it’s not magic, then how could Pen push the school bully into a pond while he was really studying alone in the library?

When Pen’s family realise he has the Rite, he is sent to live with his Uncle Napier, who can help him control his ability.

But Napier has other duties. He is the Rendelf, in charge of the Rite in the UK, and he has gathered many enemies over the years…

…enemies who would be delighted to use Pen against him.

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‘The characters were lively and the pace fast’. Rosie’s #Bookreview of #ContemporaryRomance Highland Games by Evie Alexander @evie_author

Highland Games (Kinloch Series, #1)Highland Games by Evie Alexander

4 stars

Highland Games is a mix of romantic comedy and hot contemporary romance.

Zoe gives up her safe life as an accountant in London and heads to a cabin in Scotland that she has just inherited. Little more than a shack, it has no electricity, no running water and no door. It also comes with a grumpy employee of the landlord who wants to get rid of her.

Rory had plans to move into the derelict cabin himself, but he couldn’t refute Zoe’s right to be there. Despite his attempts to encourage her departure, she begins to get under his skin.

The first half of this story was sprinkled with comedy, whereas the second half moved towards the hot romance theme. The host romance was fine, but I was never convinced that the two sub-genres of romance melded together in a believable way.

Having said that, it was quite readable; the characters were lively and the pace fast enough to keep me interested and I found myself reading late into the night. This is book one of a series and there promises to be more Scottish romance in the future.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Desc 1

Welcome to Kinloch, and the hottest winter Scotland’s ever seen.

Zoe’s always played it safe, just as her parents wanted. But when her great-uncle dies and leaves her a ramshackle cabin in the Scottish Highlands, she decides it’s time to change her life.

Upping sticks seems like a good idea in her cosy London flat, but the reality is very different. There’s no electricity or running water, the roof leaks and there’s no front door. If that wasn’t bad enough, she’s moved up in the depths of winter and her scorching hot neighbour wants her out.

Rory’s got a fifty thousand tonne problem. If he can’t make Kinloch castle profitable, he’s out of a job. He needs a clear head, but there’s someone living in the cabin he saw as his own and she’s turned his world upside down.

Rory needs Zoe out of Scotland, and out of his life. The trouble is, she has no intention of leaving.

Let the games begin…

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Mystery OUT OF SHOT by D.S. Joyce

Out of Shot: A Claire Armstrong MysteryOut of Shot: A Claire Armstrong Mystery by D.S. Joyce

3.5 stars

Out Of Shot is a mystery set in the Highlands of Scotland. The story mainly takes place in the remote village of Kylecraig and revolves around journalist Claire Armstrong who is spending a year making a film in the hope of helping to save the village school. Claire spends much of her time either filming in the school or the surrounding hills and shoreline.

During that year, drama comes to the village when one of the school children goes missing and Claire questions whether she should continue to film the villagers; shock waves move through the community. For much of the time Claire is desperately lonely; she does befriend the new school teacher, but when he abruptly leaves she’s left alone once more.

I thought that the author did a good job of portraying the isolation in a remote setting; Claire’s first cottage and the wild beach come instantly to mind. However, I did struggle to warm to Claire. I wanted her to have a more realistic range of emotions; she came across as angry far too often.

Some of my favourite parts were the scenery and the traditional village gatherings. The film-making element was very interesting, too; the author’s knowledge and experience in this shone through. The mystery didn’t work for me, which is a shame; it got a bit lost, becoming more a piece of journalism than a fully engaging mystery story with gritty suspense and danger.

Overall I enjoyed the setting and I understood the isolation, but the mystery needed more of a boost to give it a chance in this popular genre.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Desc 1

A remote Highland village. Two outsiders. One missing child. And a guilty secret….

Film-maker Claire Armstrong has swapped city life for a remote coastal community in the Highlands, where she is making a documentary.

Claire is drawn to the mysterious new arrival, Jackson; but even as their friendship deepens, he won’t share any personal information about himself. And why does he choose to live in a van on the beach in the dead of winter?

When a local child goes missing, the village is swamped by journalists and TV crews. Suspicion and anger turn to hatred, as some locals are convinced that Jackson is the prime suspect. He is driven from the village – or has he run away?

And will Claire be able find out the truth, before somebody stops her?

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