A few days into August, and I can’t help but to reflect on how awesome July was for me on the reading front. In July, I think I read more books than I have the rest of the year combined! I find this AMAZING. And I’m super siked about getting back to reading and finding time to read during the day, while making sure that I’m still writing often and balancing work and a social life. [Thought to be completely honest, not having too much of a social life helps that a bit.] This July I finished SIX books! I started two new series, which have me hooked already, and read an old favorite from one of my favorite authors.
Soooo, without further adieu, here is what was on my July reading list:
1. Lair of the Lion, Christine Feehan
This on is an old favorite of mine, from one of my FAVORITE authors EVER. Originally published in 2002, this novel is set in old-world Italy and follows the romance between Isabella Vernaducci and Nicolai DeMarco. Don DeMarco is said to be one of the most powerful and fearsome men amongst the aristocrats, and Isabella needs his help to rescue her brother. Once she arrives, Isabella is caught in the spell of the don and his curse [not a spoiler, it says he’s curse on the back cover!]. Don DeMarco agrees to help her on the condition that she become his wife. Though surprised, she agrees, and plans to set her brother free are put in motion. What she slowly begins to realize is that her arrival has also awakened the curse. While battling said curse, she falls madly in love with the don [it is a romance novel] and ends up having to deal with many near-death experiences along the way.
The novel blends into the paranormal world perfectly. As I said, it’s one of my favorites by her, and I highly recommend it. It’s a stand-alone novel, which is unusual for Feehan as she mostly writes in series’s [See her Leopard, Dark, or Sea Haven series, amongst other newer ones].
2. Beyond the Highland Mist, Karen Moning
Originally published: 1999. When Adrienne is whisked out of her century and thrown into medieval Scotland, she quickly learns that she is coerced into marrying a Highlander lord who’d had no intentions of marrying in the first place. When met with Hawk’s indifference, she becomes bolder and outspoken, which only draws his attention. They play a game of subtle seduction and once they’ve overcome their little challenges, they are plagued with the possibility that Adrienne might disappear to her own century again, leaving Hawk behind. Neither know how to prevent it, and settle for enjoying each other’s company for as long as they have it. [There’s a little faerie magic at play here].
This was my first foray into Moning’s work, and I’m pleasantly surprised. I was wondering around Barnes and Noble one day and the cover of The Highlander’s Touch caught my attention. When I realized it was the third book in the series, I, naturally, had to buy all three so that I could start at the beginning and go on from there. I was not disappointed. Definitely recommend this series if your into paranormal romance, and of course, Scotland.
3. To Tame a Highland Warrior, Karen Moning
Also published in 1999, this novel picks up the story from the original with character Grimm, Hawk’s trusted friend. No one he knows actually knows his real name by his own design. Hiding a secret past, Grimm is summoned back to the house he grew up in with the man who’d taken him in calling for him to come back for Jillian, his daughter. Feeling that he owes the man, he returns, with intentions of just seeing that Jillian is married off in peace. But once he arrives, he realizes that emotions he thought he’d buried were just simmering below the surface waiting to ignite a passion he tried to deny.
Again, I recommend. Very, very good.
4. The Highlander’s Touch, Karen Moning
Published: 2000. Another play with time travel; a cursed object brings Lisa back to medieval Scotland to a man who has sworn to kill whoever brings the object back. When Circeen sees her though, his vow to kill her comes into question, and he’s never broken a vow before. Simultaneously, he makes another vow to marry her when confronted by Robert, the king, after his attempts to hide her true identity from those in his world. Once more, the out-spoken 21st century lass has to figure out how to navigate medieval Scotland. Though this time she has some help in the form of a young boy, who’s identity she learns closer to the end of the novel. Once again, time travel is not something either partner fully understand, and becomes an issue at the end of the novel.
I turly admire how well Karen Moning weaves time travel into her novels in a non-jarring manner. I managed to finish the novel in just four hours or so, which is typical for me once I immerse myself in a book, and I truly enjoy how easy it is to lose yourself in these novels.
5. The Dark Highlander, Karen Moning
I know, I missed one in the series 😦 BUT my local Barnes and Noble didn’t have the one before this and I was super excited to keep reading this series!
Published in 2002. This novel follows Dageus MacKeltar and Chloe Zanders, a student of antiquities. When she is supposed to drop off a manuscript to Dageus’s apartment, she finds herself caught up in a mystery she hadn’t anticipated. Daegus is keeping a dark secret from her, his soul is possessed by thirteen Druids who are trying to break free, and who someone is trying to assist. Once immersed in Dageus’s world, Chloe’s curiosity gets the better of her, only drawing her further into the battle for his soul. When Dageus returns to Scotland with her, he’s faced with a nerve-wracking reunion with his brother, only to find himself welcomed home. This novel also deals with a bit of time travel as they search for an answer to free him.
For the most part, I struggled to figure out what the link was from this novel to the others [which might be explained in the missing book that I did not have the chance to read]. BUT the book still grabbed my intention, immersing me in the story. As a history buff, I LOVE the way that she incorporates history in her novels. I praise her abilities to meld the paranormal with the real, and truly can appreciate how much research went into each of her novels.
I do have two more in the series to read, and am excited to see what other stories Moning has to share about this world!
6. A Discovery of Witches, Deborah Harkness
Published in 2011, this is the newest book on my list from July. Harkness’s novel follows Dr. Diana Bishop as she’s dragged back into a world she’d tried to leave behind. A gifted witch, Diana is left almost unprotected in her attempts to deny her heritage. When she stumbles upon Ashmole 782 during a research session in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, she becomes an immediate target from daemons, witches, and vampires alike. One vampire, Matthew Clairmont [who’s a scientist], offers his protection, whether she wants it or not. The novel tracks Diana’s experiences and the growth of their relationship through all 579 pages.
I’m going to be doing a more in-depth review of this novel, so I’ll limit what I say here. I found the novel immensely intriguing and have put books two and three on my to-acquire list. She blends the science, paranormal, romance, and back story fairly well, and I look forward to reading more about the couple in the next two novels. With the effortlessness that she displayed in that blend, I’m interested to see how she balances the time travel in the next novel with it all.