Book Review: “Highland Queen” by Melanie Karsak


On July 4th, I finished my final book of the “Celtic Blood” series by Melanie Karsak.

I was under 20% of the way done so I knew if I didn’t get too distracted I would be able to do it but I told you all back in March that I would (probably) be done in the summertime and now that I’ve added another series to my belt, I feel so sad AND thrilled on the accomplishment! .

Honestly, it didn’t take me very long but I also had to fight their tears towards the end so the whole thing ended up taking to less than a hour. It was strange because once I was told to go outside, I was able to shut off my thoughts about everything that happened and then when I came back inside later that night I allowed myself to dive deep into the story again. I gave myself little over 12 hours to think about things and that is more than any other book I’ve read in past three years! I like to get all of my thoughts out while they’re still fresh but for this, it was necessary for me to treat it differently.


The king is dead.
Long live the queen.

With Duncan defeated, Gruoch becomes Queen of Scotland. Now she must rule at Macbeth’s side, a difficult prospect as the new King of Scots grows increasingly unstable. To keep her son, her love, and her country safe, Gruoch must call upon the raven.

Dive into the final installment of Gruoch’s epic tale in Highland Queen , a Scottish Historical Fantasy, Book 4 in The Celtic Blood Series by New York Times bestselling author Melanie Karsak.

taken from Goodreads.

After the events in the last book, Highland Vengeance, I knew what could be coming next would make me cry regardless and I’m glad I established that belief early on because everytime Gruoch talked about Lulach and Creawry, I would just start bawling my eyes out, but we finally get the answer about their paternity somewhat early in the story and as joyful that was, I was still full of emotions for Gruoch because that is what led her to that spot in her life. We are all given choices in our lives and even though we believe someone else is forcing us there, we are the ones who make the decision in the first place and it was a nice reminder for not only Gruoch but for me too.

The book isn’t full of sadness–although there were scenes that would make you think otherwise!–there are a lot of beautiful moments for Gruoch. Now that she was Queen of Scotland, she moved into another part of her life and that was caring for her estranged husband, King Macbeth, who was dealing with madness. You see a slither of it in HV but it really becomes apparent to practically everyone that Macbeth is not well at all. Gruoch is caring for everyone at this point, She is only staying there with him for the safety of Lulach’s future and she also deeply cares for her friends and family all around Scotland. She has Bancquo though and is finally able to devote her personal self to him and something happens that changes things for everyone all at once.

Avenger. Warrior. Queen. You have come full circle, Cerridwen.

As much as I loved this book, there were things I truly felt didn’t need to be included in the plot. The first were the gloves. I understand why she needed them but saying who they were from out loud and knowing that something might be given back in return as the series ends was a little odd to me. It might be part of her life as the Wyrd Sisters but we don’t get to know anything else about them. The final note was the actual ending. I had prepared myself for more deaths (as sad as that sounds!) and basically expected a bigger death but there wasn’t one really, and a group of people are saved and that’s how the whole thing ends. It was almost like a cliffhanger without any idea what happens to these people, and Melanie does acknowledge this in the ‘Author’s Note’ but I felt like it could have stopped after Gruoch’s meeting with Lulach because I thought that was beautiful (and made me cry even more!) but it kept going and I was very confused of the whole thing.

Now I am done and I don’t know what exactly to do. I have been looking on Kindle Unlimited for other books like this, where you have the historical fiction and fantasy elements there and I have found one other called Tree of Ages by Sara C. Roethle. It is based on the Druids so I will be able to learn more about them in a fictionalized way, but I might have figured out another book that discusses Paganism of different religions, like Norse, Celtic and Wiccan paganisms. If you have any suggestions into what I should look into next, please leave a comment below and I will check it out sometime!

Have you read “Highland Queen” by Melanie Karsak yet? What about the entire series? If you have, what were thoughts on how everything ended? Do you have a favorite book too?

Book Review: “Highland Raven” by Melanie Karsak


The only way I can explain why I read this book is because I desperately wanted to connect to my Scottish roots. I love my Irish bloodline but have always felt something different for the other one. I’ve never found the answer to it, but reading various books have helped me think positively towards Scotland. I actually had one other book I found on Kindle Unlimited and it was nonfiction but since reading the Hades and Persephone series in January, I’ve been craving more fantasy and magic books, so when I saw this series, I thought I would take a chance on it.

WARNING: There are some spoilers mentioned after the description, so if you don’t want to be ruined too much of what this book is about, don’t read anything towards the bottom!


Destined to become Queen of Scotland.
Bound by blood to the Celtic gods.

Scotland, 1026–Gruoch, descendant of the line of MacAlpin, should have been born into a life of ease. But fate is fickle. Her father’s untimely death, rumored to have been plotted by King Malcolm, leaves her future uncertain and stained by the prophecy that she will avenge her family line.

Escaping to one of the last strongholds of the old Celtic gods, Gruoch becomes an adept in arcane craft. Her encounters with the otherworld, however, suggest that magic runs stronger in Scotland than she ever imagined. Haunted by dreams of a raven-haired man she’s never met, Gruoch soon feels her fate is not her own. She is duty-bound to wed a powerful lord, if not the Prince himself; however, she’s not sure she can stop her heart when she meets Banquo, a gallant highlander and druid.

Fans of Outlander and Mists of Avalon will relish this sweeping Scottish Historical Fantasy that tells the tale of Gruoch, a woman struggling to escape her fate without blood on her hands.

taken from Goodreads.

So, I’m not really familiar with William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. It wasn’t one that I was forced to read out loud throughout high school (thank god!) but I have seen the film called Lady Macbeth with Florence Plugh, I have seen it twice but have never finished it. Once I decided that I was going to read this series. I knew it would be like I walked into another realm, and oddly enough, this metaphor works out great with this story! Anywho, I just looked at the cover and was basically drawn to it and I just hoped it wouldn’t let me down too much.

I look at the whole thing in three acts, you get to know the origins of Gruoch and Corbie, living at her aunt and uncle’s castle and knowing her only role in life there is to be a pawn because of her bloodline, as she is the direct link to the Irish royal families, and at this time, Christianity is being introduced all across the land and reeking havoc on the Old Gods, and when it is her time, she goes to live with this coven, of eight women to learn more about the history, paganism and magic. And then you are pulled back into the Macbeth side and discuss the role of the Wyrd Sisters.

Something wicked this way comes.

I was already sold on the medieval aspect of the story and the fact that you, as a reader, are learning things such as soul magic–I found it so interesting!–that I was literally telling myself “it’s not real Meghan,” but what I was really surprised about was my interest into the Celtic paganism and rituals mentioned within the story. In a way, Samhain is like Day Of The Dead to Latin Americans, where you celebrate your ancestors, by giving them their favorite foods, clothes, etc. If you want to learn more about the Celtic religion and everyday life, click here

There were a lot of information mentioned but for once, I wasn’t confused or thought it was too much (shockingly!) but I still gave it a four out of five stars on Goodreads. I think it was because of the sections between the events that happened during Samhain and then suddenly being transferred to a whole other part. I kind of kept losing interest once we entered the third act and I never really understood that part yet. However, I just need to keep thinking that maybe we’ll learn more about all of the that in the second book, Highland Blood, because I was smart this time around and as it started getting toward the end of it, I went and downloaded the next story in the series. There is a slight chance that by the time I get this review up, I’ve finished reading that one and have an extra post on Friday, but don’t get your hopes up though because I am reading rather slower than I would like to at the moment.

Have you checkout out the The Celtic Blood series by Melanie Karsak? If you have, were you familiar with the story of ‘Macbeth’ already?

January Playlist


We’re at the end of the first month of 2019! Well, I am! I have decided that there will be no blog posts next week. I’m still moving into my room so I thought with taking out that week that maybe I can get a jumpstart on my plans for February.

Here are my Top 10 Songs for this month!

Close To Me by Ellie Goulding x Diplo featuring Swae Lee
Let Me Down Slowly by Alec Benjamin featuring Alessia Cara
Scared To Be Lonely by Martin Garrix featuring Dua Lipa
Heart To Break by Kim Pietras
Waiting For The End by Linkin Park
Machine by Imagine Dragons
7 Rings by Ariana Grande
Never Be by Meg Mac
More Than Words by Little Mix featuring Kamille
She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5
To The Water by Moya Brennan

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do a lot of reviews like I wanted, but I was happy with what I was able to find on YouTube though. I’m hoping to add more next month, but I also don’t want to push myself any more than I should, so we’ll really have to see what happens. You might get a surprise or two! If you have yet to read the ones I published earlier they were:

LM5 by Little Mix | Singular: Act 1 by Sabrina Carpenter

So what was your most played song of the first month of 2019?

I’m An Onomastic!


Hi 🙂

There is something you can catch me doing on Sundays. No, I don’t lounge around, well maybe sometimes, but most of the time I’m asking for our local newspaper looking at the birth and obituaries sections. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those creepy people who look at who’s died looking for a date. I look up and down the two rows at the beautiful names of children who were born in the last two weeks or so. I can’t quite explain why I do it or how it got started, I’ve just been addicted to asking for the paper on that specific day. I’m not interested in the news articles, just this part.

I wish I could say it was my only outlet but it’s not.

When I started Pinterest back in 2012, I was searching other boards and one day I found a board full of names! I found so many good ones that I didn’t just want to “like” each one so I ended making them a board. And then a couple of years later I made up another (secret) board of names for characters that were stuck in the depths of my mind. Luckily for me, there is actually a big difference between these two boards. One has more modern and classic baby names whereas the second has forgotten and out of the box names.

Here are some examples:

Baby Name Board:

Hazel | Paige | Abigail | Otto | Leon | Lachlan

Character Name Board:

Oryn | Zachari | Leopold | Tarina | Isadora | Annika

After watching so many episodes of Jeopardy, I actually started to see more and more contestants say they’re also obsessed with names as well, but there is actually a name for it. It is onomastics.

I am into is where the names originated, like my name: “Meghan” is actually Greek, which shouldn’t had surprised me as much as it did but I thought it was pretty neat though! I tend to love names from different countries like Denmark, France, Ireland, Italian, and Sweden. I also love names that were made up from stories like Shakespeare (despite the fact I can’t read his stories for the life of me!). I had always heard that Mr. Shakespeare is the one who came up with “Jessica” I still don’t know if this is true, and then of course you have mythology! I love the Celtic, Egyptian, and Norse mythology names! I have contemplated about using the names “Seti” and “Ra” in my children’s names!

When I first started looking into the large branches of the British monarchy, I realized they had very long names. One time I saw where they had seven middle names–not counting their first and last names! This person was actually Mary of Teck or later known as Queen Mary who married King George V in the early 1900s. “Mary” is actually her first middle name while her first was “Victoria” but her family called her “May.” As I’ve found the middle names are usually driven from previous family names. Mary would have been a young girl when Queen Victoria was still queen, but I have no idea about the rest.

Where is it in time frame where they start adding onto the names? I haven’t exactly figured this out yet as I’ve just figured out of the century of the War Of The Roses! I’m also curious on how open were they to give their children different names too? I’ve just recently found the name “Susan” while researching a former duchess on Facebook. It was the first one I had seen dating back to the 1500’s.

Now when you look back further their the history books, around the time when you have the Plantagenet and Tudor families where they only had one name. For explain King Henry VIII’s first daughter Princess Mary, is just simply Mary Tudor. Same goes for Queen Elizabeth I, she was just referred to Elizabeth Tudor. If she hadn’t became queen, I think some people would have gotten confused while researching the Tudor dynasty as King Henry VIII also had a younger sisters by the name of Princess Mary and Elizabeth.

For this next part I thought I’d share some of my favorite names and explain that some belong in other categorize too! So maybe if you’re expecting or love names just as much as I do, they will become some of your favorites too!

Classic:  Isabella, Victoria, Eleanor, Anne, Theodora, Cecily, Naomi, Albert, Edgar, George, Louis, Michael, Nicholas, Philip, Richard, Samuel, and Vincent.

French Names: Blanche, Celeste, Camille, Agnes, Alexandrine, Augustine, Bastien, Claude, Emeric, and Ernest.

Irish Names:  Aoife, Bridget, Fiona, Eabha, Moira, Oona, Siobhan Ronan, Declan, Donal, Liam, Mahon, Owen.

Out Of The Box: Piera, Olympia, Wilhelmina, Evanna, Reverie, Atlas, Thompson, Calix, Hugo, Audric, Henrik, and Micah, 

Are you interested in names? What are some of your favorites? I really want to know, so please tell me some in the comments!


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Album Review: “Voices Of Angels” by Celtic Woman


Back in March, I decided to review my first ever Celtic Woman album, as “Destiny” came out back in November 2015. I knew I was late getting it up but I didn’t care! I love that album so much and did you see it was recently nominated for a Grammy?! All four women sound beautiful and diverse all at the same time. I was really impressed considering I have yet to listen to their previous albums and find my favorite tracks on them!

Now I’m back with their newest release called “Voices Of Angels” and not only does it include the Orchestra of Ireland but it also features their new violinist Tara McNeil, who was featured in their live concert DVD for Destiny, she was the harpist on the right side of the stage. The rest of the lineup is still the same with Susan McFadden, Eabha McMahon and Mairead Carlin, they each have a different tone to bring to the table, but in terms of favorites: Eabha is my favorite mostly because she’s the only alto in the group.

If you have never listened to Celtic Woman album’s, they do a mixture of traditional Irish in their native tongue: Gaelic, comporary, and holiday songs. They will also do multiple versions of the songs, you will find out more about that in this review.

So we’re finally going to start this review, the first track is probably the one song that everybody was iffy about, mostly because the great Celine Dion made this song so big that you wouldn’t think anybody could top it. We’re used to only hearing one person sing this song and here you have three singers pulling together to make a beautiful rendition of the song. It still has the same essence of the original, very soft and emotional! When they all sing together in the choruses, it’s so lovely! Somehow they managed to make this work and it just blows my mind!

The second is “Isle Of Hope, Isle Of Tears” and it is on their album “Songs From The Heart” that came out in 2010. This is so beautiful. I love the sound of the full orchestra for this song. I thought Eabha did a fantastic job! Nothing is too much or too little, everything just meshes well together! Next is “As She Moved Through The Fair” which they had featured in their first album “Celtic Woman” back in 2005, it was also included in the “Emerald” album they released in 2014. I think the reason why they tend to repeat the same songs is because some arrangements might’ve catered to the singer that sang the original version and maybe the other singer might be limited on high or low the notes of the song, like Eabha can’t go too high because her voice is naturally deep. It can be too hard for her to hit a higher pitch of a song or it could be that they wanted to pick songs that will sound lovely with an orchestra! Anyways, I’ve heard the “Emerald” version, have it on my iPod and listen to it constantly. I like this version, it kind of has this exotic vibe throughout with the gongs, it’s very pretty, but, yes I still prefer the other way!

The next is another rendition of a previous song they’ve listed on their album “A New Journey” that came out in 2007. It’s called “Mo Ghile Mear (My Gallant Star)” and yes, it’s another song I’ve listened to and fell in love with after some time. This one is very grand, thanks to the orchestra again! It still sounds like a traditional Irish song. The ladies and choir sing in the chorus in Gaelic but majority of is in English. Surprisingly, I actually prefer this performance instead! The fifth track is a song we all know but mostly hear it in church or Christmas time. It’s “Ave Maria” and this was another featured in the first album. This is sung by Mairead Carlin and I think she did a great job on it!

This next song is an instrumental and you all know how much I love these! It’s called “For The Love Of A Princess” you have the eternal “ah” in the beginning, the orchestra playing and of course the lovely Tara McNeil playing a gorgeous composition. I don’t know if it is a contemporary or Irish song since there are no words included and sixith song is called “Time To Say Goodbye” and it is not featured on their previous albums, so it must be one of the new songs that was said to be included on the album. I have to say Mairead Carlin has really surprised me with her vocals on this album, there a couple of spots where she hits some pretty high notes, it almost sounds operatic! It isn’t until the first verse ends that Susan and Eabha join in and it’s very beautiful when they each hit a different note at the same time and you can clearly hear it. The entire thing is brilliant!

“Dúlamán” is next and this definitely another favorite of mine and it’s featured on “A New Journey”.  I love the soft beginning, it still sounds like the original version but then it opens up with the percussion and male choir, but it’s still very airy that I think the first arrangement kind of misses. As it continues on, it sort of grows and become more epic in a way. I can’t choose between the versions, they’re both great in their own ways, but this is a contender too! Now if “Walk Beside Me” sounds too familiar, it was on the “Destiny” album and Eabha holds the command of the song, as she sang the first version all on her own. I think the only difference between the two is because of the orchestra arrangement. I am conflicted with this one, but it is very enchanting!

Next is “O, America” which is a song that I have not heard and it is on their “Songs From The Heart” album and actually, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this song before hearing it on their rooster, that says a lot for me being American! I do think it’s a very good song. The eleventh track is “A Time For Us” which has a beautiful introduction. This one gives me like a Broadway or just a general play vibe. I think it’s very alluring, as it sounds very fantasy-like between the strings of the orchestra and Mairead’s vocals. It’s interesting! If there is a standard edition of the album, this next song would be the last of it and it is called “Across The World” and it is an instrumental by the lovely Tara again and the orchestra of Ireland. I really, really like all of the strings. I usually love the string section than I do any other part of orchestras. I love the classical sound they give off aganist the celtic violin. It’s very powerful and fun, which to me siginalifies Irish music!

On the deluxe edition, the setlist continues with a 2016 version of “Téir Abhaile Riú” and this is another traditional Irish song that they’ve had on the album “Believe” that came out in 2012. Again, I have not heard that version just the one they shared on their Facebook last month. Since I’ve heard it like this, I may not want to listen to the other one. I actually love this! I didn’t want it to end! The next three songs that are listed on the album are holiday songs. First up is “Joy To The World” which made me very festive all of a sudden. However, when I did this review it was like two days before Thanksgiving so I felt like I was cheating a bit! Anyways, I think holiday songs get better whenever a symphony is involved and I think most people would agree with me. It’s just magnificent of a sound with the ladies and choir! Next is “Silent Night” but instead of it being in English, it’s in Gaelic in the beginning and then it changes back to English. I kind of wished it had stayed in Gaelic the whole time, but I thought it was beautiful to hear such a classic Christmas song to be sung in another language even if I don’t understand it, yet. Last but not least is “Once In Royal David’s City” and this again, I am embarrassed to say I have never heard before, actually I might’ve I just don’t remember it very well. I think it’s lovely though!

I didn’t think there was a way to make the Celtic Woman songs more beautiful, but I guess I was wrong! I think this album as a whole is wonderful! I think it brought some of the fans favorites and brought them into a new light with having the orchestra involved, but let’s face it you add a real symphony to the mix and it’ll be 10x better than what you’re used to hearing on the radio!

Have you listened to “Voices Of Angels” yet? What songs do you like? What are your thoughts of the different variations of the songs that you’ve heard on their previous works?


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