Highland Master, Hannah Howell

Welcome back to Cousin Allison, a guest reviewer. Since she reads historical romances and I don’t, she gets roped into reviewing once in a while. Today she’s talking ranting about Highland Master by Hannah Howell. Just so you know, there will be spoilers, so consider yourselves warned! ~Lynda

Where to start with this review…Let me first say that I normally LOVE all Hannah Howell books and have no problem reading them in order/out of order or even just sections of the books. They always grab my attention and I fall in with the story. With Highland Master that was not the case with this book!


At the beginning of the story you meet Triona McKee when she is struggling with keeping her home and people safe,  fed, and housed while dealing with a nasty neighbor. Then before you can even really get a grasp of the situation Triona’s cousin Arianna MacFingal shows up with some of her family/in-laws (as her escort) as she is running away from her own marriage (WTH?)!! This new second story within the book was so distracting that I stopped reading the book! I then told myself it had to get better so I started again; I did this about 3 times! It didn’t get much better. The book should have been called Highland Avenger II as a follow-up book to Arianna and Brian’s book as that story was more than half this book and completely distracting from what shod have been Triona and Brett’s story.

I honestly can’t write a good review for this book because I was so annoyed with the second story taking over that I had to force my way through this book just so I could get it finished so I could re-read Highland Avenger because I needed to know if that book really ended how I remembered and if the other “new” storyline for those characters really fit in with what had been written about them. Yes I know I could have just stopped and read Highland Avenger first, but that isn’t the point. In the past these books have always been stand alone books with characters who make appearances in other stories, but this seemed like it was just an extended epilogue of a previous book.

So after I read Highland Avenger again I don’t think we needed this whole drama of Brian being married before Ariana to come out. It has no significance, and they have taken her prior marriage to another level of problems when we already knew it was a mess from HER book.

I really wanted more for Triona and Brett. I wanted to see more interaction between the characters and how they intertwined with Triona’s people who see her as the leader not some guy who is stepping in to help out.

Maybe the next Hannah Howell book will restore my faith in her, but I sure hope I won’t be required to read Highland Master again to make sure I’m ready for what may be the sequel to this disaster of a book.

Cousin Allison
Guest Reviewer Extraordinaire

RATING: 1.5 Stars

Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh, Stephanie Laurens

Guppy Note: While at the RT Convention WAAAAAAAY back in May, I was lucky enough to get an ARC for this book. Unfortunately, I rarely read historical romances, but my cousin is a fan of both the genre and Ms. Laurens, so she pounced on the book and decided to try her hand at reviewing.

Be gentle. It’s her first time.

Well this is my first attempt at a book review so bear with me…Before I decided to review the latest Cynster Novel by Stephanie Laurens I thought I should re-read some of the books prior and any I hadn’t yet read to re-familiarize myself with the main characters and to get into the Cynster mind-frame.  I had forgotten how much I missed these books.

All told I re-read 6 books before I decided I was ready for The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh so when I finished the book I was sorely upset when it didn’t reach out and hold my attention like all the books leading up to it.  Now this could be that perhaps I read too many Cynster novels in a short time, or what makes a Cynster novel a CYNSTER novel just wasn’t there.  If you have read any of the Cynster books or even the Bastion Club books by Stephanie Laurens you know what I am talking about: the strong male that you sometimes want to bash upside the head, the female who knows she is in the right but still manages to screw something up and you laugh out loud at scenes or you sniffle through others.  For some reason this book just didn’t hit those marks for me.  We had heard about both Mary and Ryder in the books leading up to this and I couldn’t wait for the book to come out knowing Ryder was going to be an interesting character and that strong-headed Mary would be his match. Perhaps some of the lack of entertainment in this book was missing because there were so many scenes when other characters were taking the main lead and you had to get through those scenes to get back to Ryder and Mary.  Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed catching up with everyone (as I always do), but like I said something was just missing for me.

I look forward to the next Cynster novel and maybe this time I won’t re-read so many books prior and maybe I will love that book like I have loved so many others.