Tag Archives: The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance

The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance edited by Trisha Telep

Overview
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Title: The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance
Author: Trisha Telep, Heather McCollum, Patricia Grasso, Marta Acosta, Jackie Ivie, Elle Jasper, Jacquie D’Alessandro, Debbie Mazzuca, Julianne MacLean, Susan Sizemore, Lois Greiman, Kimberly Killion, Anne Gracie, Leah Marie Brown, Donna Kauffman, Terri Brisbin, Annette Blair, Sandy Blair, Jackie Barbosa, Donna Grant & Connie Brockway
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romance, Scottish romance, Short story collections
Dates read: 23rd November 2018 – 16th March 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: His hair was deep chestnut, a little long and brushed back from a widow’s peak, and his shoulders were wide in an inky black-blue suit.

Synopsis

Real Men Wear Kilts.

Enough to make even the hardiest Highlander blush, here you will find the steamy romantic history of Scotland laid bare. With swords, through sorcery and in the course of some of the hottest nights ever experienced on the Inner Hebrides, Scottish heroes stake their claims, both in the bedroom and out. Dreams come true and legends are born as ancient prophecies are fulfilled by time travellers from the future, in a Scotland where real historical figures exist side by side with pagan magic and werewolves. Dashing lairds and Scottish barbarians fight for love and honour in a wild, magical world.

Thoughts

Oh my gosh. I loved this collection! It had everything in it that I kind of love in the world – romance, Scotsmen and passion. I normally read short story collections because they are easy to put down… that wasn’t the case with this one. It was almost impossible to walk away from it and I now want to find other Scottish-inspired romances that give this same intensity of beautiful feelings.

Whilst the majority of the stories in this collection can be classified as historical romance, there are a sprinkling of contemporary romances scattered throughout. I did buy this collection with the intent of reading historical romances, but it’s kind of nice to have a hint of something a little more modern. It provides a great ability to change the pace of the stories and gives a little more variety.

I’ve read a few Mammoth Books now, and I love the variety of stories they provide under the same umbrella. These collections also run the gambit for story length – the tales in this collection are slightly longer than some other collections and I kind of loved that fact. It meant that I connected to the characters on a deeper level because I got to spend more time with them. And it made my heart skip a beat all the more quickly.

<- The Mammoth Book of Sea BattlesHighland Heart ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

The Laird’s French Bride by Connie Brockway

Overview
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Title: The Laird’s French Bride
Author: Connie Brockway
In: The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Historical romance, Scottish romance
Dates read: 16th March 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: “I said, not a word,” Rob repeated.

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Synopsis

Rob needs to make this marriage work for the good of his clan, but he’s really not sure what to expect from his mystery bride… will the French-raised woman meet his expectations, or dash them into the dirt?

Thoughts

This was such a cute story to end this collection on. It had a little less going on, and it wasn’t as intense as some of the other tales. But it was so much fun. And it centred beautifully on just the couple. There were other characters mentioned, but they almost faded into obscurity moments after they were mentioned. Which was kind of nice. It was all about Rob and Jeanne.

Although I knew that the lead couple were going to end up together, the journey to the end was still really fun. I’ve said it before, but sometimes the simplicity and sweetness of the moment is all that you need to create an amazing tale. And this is certainly a tale I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

 <- Forever Mine ReviewThe Mammoth Book of Science Fiction Review ->
Image source: Hachette Australia

Forever Mine by Donna Grant

Overview
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Title: Forever Mine
Author: Donna Grant
In: The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romance, Scottish romance
Dates read: 16th March 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: He’d been fighting Niall for two years.

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Synopsis

He’s been fighting a tyrant for years, but when Niall takes a hostage, his life is going to change in ways that he just didn’t anticipate. And couldn’t ever imagine.

Thoughts

This short story kind of had it all – romance, conspiracy and a fair amount of action. I was only going to read a page or two (since it was a little bit of a longer short story), but then I found that I just couldn’t put it down. The sprinkling of action and conspiracies throughout the romance, all set against a great Scottish background made me walk into a wall (actually) since I found it so difficult to tear my gaze away.

I love that although this is a romance, the story was also one of revenge and reclaiming ones’ heritage. It was about finding your own power and taking care of others. Concepts that I always enjoy, but I don’t always find so strongly intertwined with a romance. I was actually quite disappointed that this was a short story for this reason… after all, there was so much room for a greater storyline that interweaved the powers of passion and revenge.

 <- The Reiver ReviewThe Laird’s French Bride Review ->
Image source: Hachette Australia

The Reiver by Jackie Barbosa

Overview
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Title: The Reiver
Author: Jackie Barbosa
In: The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Historical romance, Scottish romance
Dates read: 12th March 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: But surely you should have brought me to a priest if that was your intent.

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Synopsis

The head of a Scottish clan captures the reiver who has been taking his livestock. But, it isn’t until he discovers who, and what they truly are that life begins to take a far more interesting twist.

Thoughts

Alright, so it’s incredibly easy to tell that there is going to be a romance from the very beginning. Like every other romance story that you have the privilege of reading. But, it was still kind of cute how it worked out. And I wasn’t fully expecting how the story unfolded. Yes, some parts where they fall in love was completely expected, but there were other aspects which just weren’t that predictable…

This was a great, cute and entertaining short story. It was just long enough that it felt like there was a little more substance to it than some other short stories I’ve been reading lately. But it also made me feel happy, curled up and believing in the power of love. Something that not many novels really seem to manage… novels give me all the other kinds of feels, but if they were all about the sappy love like this short story I’d be bored and *retch*.

 <- Her MacKinnon ReviewForever Mine Review ->
Image source: Hachette Australia

Her MacKinnon by Sandy Blair

Overview
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Title: Her MacKinnon
Author: Sandy Blair
Series: MacKinnon #1.5
In: The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary romance, Scottish romance, Time travel
Dates read: 5th March 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Grinning, he leaned forward and whispered in her ear, “May I have this dance?”

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Synopsis

Maggie is stuck in a marriage with a man who is obsessed with the past. But a surprise accident turns everything on its head as a legend comes to lief and the past comes back to haunt them.

Thoughts

I was kind of surprised by how much I liked this short story. At the outset Maggie’s husband is completely horrible and I couldn’t see how he would be redeemed. The fact that she’s married tends to mean that there’s not a good way in which to find herself a new partner. So I really couldn’t see a way in which the story could be redeemable. The man is a horrible excuse for a husband, and Maggie has no way to get herself a new romance in such a short story.

Luckily for me, Blair managed to create a fantastic world in which Maggie was able to be with her true love, he wasn’t a douche and they got their happily ever after. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but it actually worked brilliantly. And I loved the fact that it all took place in modern day society. There was still a historical fiction aspect to the story, but it is still about a contemporary romance.

 <- Kissingate Magic ReviewThe Reiver Review ->
Image source: Hachette Australia

Kissingate Magic by Annette Blair

Overview
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Title: Kissingate Magic
Author: Annette Blair
In: The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: FamilyHistorical romance
Dates read: 4th March 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: I know Papa likes me, but I wish he liked Mama enough to keep her and not send her to heaven.

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Synopsis

Past lies and mistakes come back to haunt Jacey and Gabe as fate (and a little magic) intervene in their lives.

Thoughts

Romances that show a tragic past and soul mates are some of my favourites. They’re a reminder that some couples don’t get that love at first sight, happily ever after tale. And some do (which is why I also like the other type of tale). From the very beginning, this falling out was a beautiful travesty of mistakes, miscommunications and misunderstandings. With a happily ever after in it for all, of course.

I liked the romance aspect of this story, but what I enjoyed the most was that it was about a family. It wasn’t just about a man and woman rekindling their past love, but also about a child and what is best for her. As the story unfolds, it is evident that everything in the world centres around Bridget, and I love that the romance almost begins to take a backseat to the health of the child.

Then, there is the mystery of the past. Although some aspects of the past may be guessed at, there are many more that sneak up on you.

 <- Kidnapping the Laird ReviewHer MacKinnon Review ->
Image source: Hachette Australia

Kidnapping the Laird by Terri Brisbin

Overview
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Title: Kidnapping the Laird
Author: Terri Brisbin
In: The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Historical romanceScottish romance
Dates read: 19th February 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Cat focused on her task and soon the porridge bubbled in the cooking pot.

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Synopsis

Desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures. Especially when you’re married to a laird who won’t even look at you…

Thoughts

The beginning of this story wasn’t quite what I expected. I was really expecting a kidnap from the very start that possibly lead to a love and marriage. Instead it started with a marriage, and the kidnapping doesn’t occur until about halfway through. Though it works brilliantly and beautifully. And I turned the last page of this book with a great smile on my face.

This story starts off with an estranged couple, and quickly fills in the backstory as to their epic failing at being a couple. Even though it’s pretty obvious that they’re going to reconcile their differences fairly quickly in this story. After all, it’s in a romance collection. It’s still intriguing and captivating the ways in which the two stubborn fools manage to make their relationship work and start on a new adventure… together.

 <- Next Time ReviewKissingate Magic Review ->
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Next Time by Donna Kauffman

Overview
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Title: Next Time
Author: Donna Kauffman
In: The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Science fiction, Scottish romanceTime travel
Dates read: 17th February 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: “I dinnae rightly know,” he said, which should have deflated her hopes entirely.

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Synopsis

Abby knows that she’s facing a very short life-span, so when she sees a ghost in the Scottish Highlands, she decides to find out more about him. What follows is an adventure that she couldn’t fathom experiencing.

Thoughts

This short story took a very different take on the idea of Scottish Romance. Especially when compared to the other stories in this collection. There was a very sci-fi, time travelling feel to it that focused more on the future and ideas of mortality. Most of the other stories in this collection focus on love and lust. And as a general, trend towards historical romance as their theme. This went the exact opposite direction.

I love a good time travel romance (I’ve probably only ever read two), but I do sometimes find that they can be a little hard to follow. Which meant that having a short story that focused on this idea was kind of perfect. It wasn’t hard to follow since it was a straight forward and cute short story. but it also had enough going on and enough complexity that I didn’t get bored. The perfect balance for someone with my tastes. And someone who is constantly studying and filling her head with other nonsense.

 <- After the Gloaming ReviewKidnapping the Laird Review ->
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After the Gloaming by Leah Marie Brown

Overview
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Title: After the Gloaming
Author: Leah Marie Brown
In: The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: CelticScottish romance
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: The emaciated man’s chest rattled with each tortured breath and his blue eyes, yellow with jaundice, darted frantically back and forth as if terrified at the thought of dying alone.

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Synopsis

Conrad has returned to the homeland to say goodbye to the father that he never knew. But in doing so, he might find a future for himself that he never expected. And break the ancient curse on his family at the same time.

Thoughts

I really liked the use of a bean sidhe in this Scottish romance. It took that sense of surreal otherworldness that I’m falling in love with within the genre and partnered it with the modern-day real world. Especially considering the fact that the story begins in yesteryear and then flashes forward to today. The use of a cursed woman and bean sidhe just echoed that perfectly.

The only reason I took half a star off of my rating for this tale was that I thought it ended too quickly. The introduction took up about three quarters of the story. Then suddenly the two characters are obviously in love and trying to break the curse. You flip the page and the curse is broken. I felt that the amount of work and awesome storytelling that had gone into the initial introduction, could have extended out the ending a little and made you wonder about happily ever after for just that little bit longer.

 <- The Laird’s Vow ReviewNext Time Review ->
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The Laird’s Vow by Anne Gracie

Overview
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Title: The Laird’s Vow
Author: Anne Gracie
In: The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceScottish romance
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Perhaps I’ll one day come to rue the day I plucked a wee bog sprite from the mud and married her, but I doubt it.

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Synopsis

The Laird wants to protect his inheritance from his spend-happy Uncle. And the only way to do so is to marry. In making a vow to marry the first eligible maiden he meets, he’s either making the greatest mistake of his life… or finding his own happily ever after.

Thoughts

Alright, so I knew that the first woman that the laird meets in this was going to kind of end up being the woman of his dreams. After all, it’s a short story in a collection of Scottish Romances. Nothing else is going to happen but two people meet and fall in love in a wonderfully short period of time. That isn’t to say that the journey isn’t wonderful. And my heart did that little skip-a-beat that it does when I find an incredibly sweet and beautiful tale.

I was expecting a lot more resilience to the bride in this story. Which meant that I was incredibly surprised when it didn’t really come about. The entire story was mostly about the marriage and then quickly getting to know one another, and of course, eventually realising that they were in love. I kind of liked the fact that there wasn’t a lot of resilience to the union – I was reading another romance at the time which did have a lot of resilience. So it was quite a nice change of pace to not have to worry about someone not getting their happily ever after.

 <- His Magick Touch ReviewAfter the Gloaming Review ->
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