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?

The Young Queens.


The night I was trying to figure out how to write my Queen Mary I vs. Lady Jane Grey post, I got sidetracked and started thinking about the future queens. Right now there are only two Queen Regent monarchs: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. After they both pass on, their sons will reign in their place and hopefully their grandsons after them but what you may not know is that there might be FIVE Queens in the coming years and I find that absolutely fascinating considering everybody would rather have a king than a queen, whether or not she is their wife or daughter.

I really don’t know how to really start this post, because I don’t want anybody to be confused but I thought it would be an interesting hope for the world that one day all five princesses will be on the throne of their native country someday.

I’m going to start with Spain. The reason why I want to discuss Leonor, Princess of Asturias (11) is because if her parents King Felipe VI and Queen consort Letizia have a son, Leonor will take a step back on the act of succession, like I explained in my first paragraph, Spain is one of the countries that is male preferred.

Spain has had a total of three queen regents, starting in 1479 Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile ruled together and their oldest daughter Joanna of Castile or as she’s known around the world: Joanna The Mad became Queen of Spain in 1504. After Fredinand VII died in 1833, his daughter Isabel II became the last Queen to rule in Spain until she had to abdicate the throne in 1868 to her son Alfonso XII despite the fact that he was not her first child, Isabel, Princess of Asturias was born in six years before him.

Leonor isn’t the only one that has a hefty line of Queen rulers. Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange is thirteen years old and is the heiress apparent of King Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Máxima. Before her father came onto the throne, her grandmother Queen Beatrix reigned from 1980 to 2013 and she is the daughter of Queen Juliana and she herself was the daughter of the first queen of the Netherlands Queen Wilhelmina. If Catharina-Amalia does her duty, she will the country’s fourth queen.

One thing that is very similar between both Leonor, Princess of Asturias and Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange is that even if they don’t ascend to their thrones, they each have a sister to take their place. Infanta Sofia of Spain is only a year younger than her sister. Catharina-Amalia has two younger sisters Princess Alexia of the Netherlands, age 12 and Princess Ariane of the Netherlands, age 10.

This next princess will literally be the first Queen monarch in Belgium. Princess Elisabeth of Belgium is the oldest on this whole list. She will turn 16 later this month. Her parents came to the throne in the same year as the Dutch royals. King Philippe and Queen Mathilde ascended onto the throne after King Albert II abdicated in 2013. The Kingdom of Belgium was started with King Leopold I. He was originally a German prince prior moving to and ruling Belgium. He was first married to Princess Charlotte of Wales, daughter of King George IV. He was the uncle by marriage to Queen Victoria and an maternal uncle to her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

One of the similar things between these next two countries is that only one queen has ruled over them: Margaret I, who died in 1412, ruled over Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Princess Ingrid of Norway is thirteen and is the daughter of Crown Prince Haakon and his wife, Crown Princess Mette-Merit. Now our final princess is Princess Estelle of Sweden and she is the youngest as she is only five years old. Her mother is Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, who is also the heiress apparent to the Swedish throne and Estelle’s father is Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. This hasn’t happened in Sweden before, where two future queens will take the throne back-to-back. So technically, we end this post with six future queens!

Do you find the upcoming monarchs interesting? Or are you like me and find the medieval Kings and Queens more fascinating? 


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Tune Tuesday: R&B Divas


What is Tune Tuesday: If you like America, new music always comes out on Tuesdays. In the beginning, that’s when I started talking about music the most. Every Tuesday would be different songs from every genre that I was listening to at that time. Now I’m creating new themes for these days, So for this theme it’s obviously women, talking about all kinds of music divas from different time periods. I’d like to stay around the decades that I know about, the first post had The Superemes and Aretha Franklin and sadly I don’t listen to a lot of their music, but I still consider them as femme fatales in their own right. Each week, you will be learning or remembering powerful female singers from the 80’s,90’s, early 00’s to now. I’m also talking about princesses who will be powerful queens in a few years tops. This is a place to have fun and dance and sing to your favorite songs! Enjoy!


TLC is a group that everybody should remember from the early 90’s, Chilli, T-Boz, and the late Left Eye. It all started in 1992 with the debut of their first album, Oooooooooohh… On the TLC Tip, but I never heard of them until their second album, CrazySexyCool came out just two years later in 1994. I vaguely remember hearing the songs “Creep” and Waterfalls” playing on various R&B commercials growing up, I’m kidding that’s how I actually learned the whole chorus of “Waterfalls” by those early morning infomercials. In 1999 they released their third album, FanMail and the two tracks you might remember from this album would be “No Scrubs” and “Unpretty.” At that time, I was a pretty big fan of NS and so was my mom. Which is the reason why I always listen to it with my headphones to dodge her from singing the chorus. Too bad I never had headphones back in the day, those could have helped a lot those days. Sadly, I don’t remember ever liking any songs from their fourth album 3D. This album came out after the death of Left Eye. Just last year, their was a TLC CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story was first featured on VH1 in the fall of 2013. The film stars Keke Palmer as Chilli, Lil Mama as Left Eye, and Drew Sidora as T-Boz.


Aaliyah is another R&B singer that had incredible voice that was taken too soon from this world. In 1994 her debut album, “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number” One of the producers that helped out on her first was a newbie, R. Kelly. I don’t remember liking any tracks from his first album, but for her second album, I did like the title track, “One In A Million” a lot. On her third album, Aaliyah I did like the song “Rock The Boat” a little bit. On the “I Care 4 U” album, I was in love with “Are You That Somebody” and “Try Again” This album was released a year after she died.

Janet Jackson

I do remember Janet Jackson fairly well, I mean who doesn’t remember her being in Jackson 5? Would you believe it if I said, I heard her music before I heard anything of her brother Michael’s? I still remember mornings before school, my mom would get us ready and I would sit in front of our huge TV back in the day and I sang and danced to her song, “All For You” I mean that song was my jam, as I am working on this post, I like to listen to different songs from each artists/groups to get into the mood. I’m having a bit of trouble keeping myself contained at the moment. I like her others, “Call On Me,” “So Excited,” “Luv It Luv It,” and I remember discovering “All Nite (Don’t Stop)” on VH1 in the very early mornings in 2004-ish.

Destiny’s Child

Out of everybody on this list, Destiny’s Child is the only one that I remember throughout the years, to the point I have three of their albums. I have Survivor, Destiny Fulfilled, and #1’s. I was really upset when I heard that they were breaking up, but I didn’t think it wasn’t going to happen. Beyonce was going to go out on her own, one way or another. I am pretty picky when it comes to listening to full albums, I was always into the single only even in the early 00’s. This was before getting singles were a popular thing like it is now. Of course, now I’m backwards! Anyways, I was addicted to that Survivor album. I remember waking up one morning, my birthday actually and the sun hadn’t come up yet, everybody was still asleep, I guess I had listened to their song “Happy Face” and that was what got me through my day, I remembered that intro and chorus, I was just happy for the day and everybody loves a song that can do that for you, especially on your birthday. Sadly, I don’t remember how my day really was but at least I remember the beginning of it.

Tune Tuesday: Start Of Female Queens


So our last theme was a success, I wish it could have been better but you can’t have everything! For the rest of the year, it’s the first half of the edition of Femme Fatale I’m actually really excited about talking about four different queens each week. I’ve kind of separated them out from decades. I’ve been wanting to do a female based theme for my Tune Tuesdays, because I am a lover of female singers. I admire a lot of them and you’ll learn that along the way. Some of these women have songs that will bring you back to your childhood and make you sing and dance while you read and listen. If you have any other female singer that you think I need to listen to or put in the next part for 2015, place a comment at the bottom and I’ll try to squeeze them in for the new year! Now let’s get down to business! 

The Superemes

The Superemes were one of the best pop groups in the 60’s, but as luck would have it, I’ve never listened to them throughout my childhood or adult life, well that is until now! The group was originally made up of Florence Ballard, Scherrie Payne, Diana Ross, Susaye Greene, Lynda Laurence, Mary Wilson, Cindy Birdsong, and Jean Terrell. I’ve had to break the cycle and listen to some songs for this post. Over the years, I’ve grown to love old songs, because recording back then is very different from today. Songs from the 60’s and 70’s give out this very lively and echo sound to the singer’s voice and music in the background. Their song “Baby Love” that I actually remember singing from time to time (and I don’t know how or why) became England’s first all female group to be #1 on the pop, R&B charts.

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin is a legend. It’s kind of weird as a person who’s never really listened before or after I found out about the song “Respect” but you can’t blame me though, because I still know better not to knock this woman’s ability to bring the soul to any performance she does, even if she recreates an Adele song. She remake Adele’s hit song “Rolling In The Deep” and I’m not going to lie, I like her version a little more than I probably should. This is the second cover of this song that I’ve fallen in love with which surprises the crap out of me. Anyways, if you want to have a soulful moment, I’d listen to Aretha and chill out.


Now my nana hates this next femme fatale, but my mom has loved her since probably she found Prince and Motley Crue, but I could be wrong! My mom has the biggest influence on what I listened as a child, I grew up on old school rap and hip hop, with the extra spice of Madonna in there too! The first big tour/documentary film I’ve ever seen was of Madonna: Truth Or Dare at probably six or seven years old. I’m pretty sure at that time I didn’t need to see the scene of “Like A Prayer” but I was always with my mom at that time. That film was the first time I’d ever heard of “Express Yourself,” “Holiday” and “Vogue” and I still love those songs! Everytime she releases an album I do try to listen to it but I have more luck liking the singles.

Shania Twain

In the late 90’s to the early 00’s, my mom was discovering her inner country side and I tried it out too. For some of it, I don’t actually remember but I do remember my cousin Amy bringing down a taping of a Shania Twain concert in Miami and between the two of us, we watched that in our living room all the time! Plus the fact she performed a song with the Backstreet Boys basically pulled me in even more! I like a good Shania classics every now and then, she had sassy lyrics and take control attitude within them. I secretly wanted to become her someday. If my mom and I find a song of hers playing on the radio in the car, nobody touches that dial until that song is over!