Book Review: “Highland Vengeance” by Melanie Karsak

Hello!

It is finally time to talk about the third book in the Celtic Blood series, by Melanie Karsak. If you would like to check out what I had to say about the other two books, they are Highland Raven and Highland Blood. This post will include some spoilers down below, so in case you want to read the entire set (it’s free on Kindle Unlimited right now!) you may want to ditch this review!

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get started on discussing what went on in Corbie’s next stage in life.


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Scotland, 1032

Everything Gruoch loves has turned to ash. With Gillacoemgain gone, Gruoch rides north with her newborn son and a broken heart. While she desperately clings to hope, Gruoch’s new alliance with Macbeth proves more challenging than she ever anticipated. Only her unexpected reunion with an important person from her past offers solace. All may yet be well, but the raven’s wary eyes cannot help but notice clouds gathering on the horizon.

taken from Goodreads.

There were a lot of things I absolutely loved about this book, but it was definitely bittersweet!

When we come to this book, you see the cycle of being a woman of medieval times and I instantly felt horrible for her. However, she isn’t a young girl anymore; she was the raven, a widow, mother of two beautiful babies and she really took control of her life. She returns to Cawdor with only Lulach and they begin on this new journey, and the first thing she does is make the decision to seek out Macbeth instead of her cousin Duncan (for obvious reasons!), and although it was strange to choose the man who may have killed her husband, there would have no way in hell of going with option #2. Unfortunately, this marriage isn’t exactly the happiest for her but I liked the fact that she basically said, forget it! I don’t want no part of this anymore and focused her attention to raising Lulach as the successor of Moray.

“This is the sad reality we must accept. I am Gruoch, Daughter of Boite and Lady of Moray. I am the mother of Lulach, son of Gillacoemgain. You must know me as such.

On top of that, we see a familiar face come back into her life. As much as I really liked Gillacoemgain and how he treated her as both a woman and wife, especially since history has a way of showing the worst in men and when it comes to the line of succession, alliances have to be made and sometimes they don’t work out as you will see in this one, but it was nice to see another person so devoted to Corbie come back into her life. This person is a supporter of Macbeth with Jarl Thorfinn of Orkney, as they will lead the northern party against the king and Duncan.

The only thing I had an issue with was what happens starting on Chapter 42, because Melanie jumps through the years and we are told that they will be a war near the end, we are only centered around the final battle. Corbie joins everyone on the field and embraces the dark goddess, her magic and the raven for this one moment, and she was such a badass! I was proud of her throughout these books, but this was everything to me! She was finally able to get their revenge and it was so glorious!

As we enter the final book, I am slightly unsure of what could happen and basically everyone else close to her. She becomes Queen, but she only has this title because of Macbeth. I think she will have to make some even harder decisions about what she wants for not only herself but children too. I already know I will be crying because I know there will be more deaths and they are going to be hard on my heart as much as Corbie, but I’m ready to finish her story before the summer is over.

Have you read this book or any of the others in the Celtic Blood series? If you have, which one is your ultimate favorite of all time? What were thoughts after finishing “Highland Vengeance” too?

Photo Diary | Feeling Like Spring

Hello!

For the past few weeks, I have felt like I’m in a daze. I don’t want to do absolutely anything, and it has been very annoying! However, nothing really compares to the trouble we’ve had with out internet services. I think a big chunk of why I feel so out of it is because our WiFi will stay on for like a minimum 10 minutes each time someone goes to turn it back on; on the good days, it will be really good but those days are very rare anymore.

Thankfully, I have some things to help distract myself from it, like getting into a new TV show. I am happy to share that I am finally done with Rizzoli & Isles! As I was watching the finale though, I cried like a baby! It was like watching the episode “500 Years of Solitude” of The Vampire Diaries, where all of our favorite characters who had died came back, I was a fucking mess! On the good note though, I have been getting into the show Bones now. It has the same dynamic duo but with David Boreanaz as the officer and Emily Deschanel (plus her band of assistants) as Maura Isles! So, the teamwork and crazy banter is still there and at the moment, I am enjoying it!

What surprised me though, that while I am in this fog, I was able to do something I hadn’t done since the start of winter. I was allowed to go outside.

Despite the fact that I love the changing landscape and seeing all of the birds fight for food on my bird feeder, I really miss being outside.

I hate being away from my cats, and it doesn’t really help now that like four of them are not living at my sister’s house! Bear-Bear and Oscar have officially moved on and it really sucks because they are my social kitties, they tend to want to spend time with me the most and since they would rather stay on the block, I’ve been somewhat sad, but I have Grumpy and I think he is perfectly fine with this change because now he doesn’t have to wait in line to be the center of attention to us. We still have Stormy, Nelson, Midge, and Felix too, so it’s not too terrible, although my dad kind of wishes they would all move out but I think he would be sad for me because that’s my connection to the outdoors for now.

We were able to experience some early spring in March. It isn’t too uncommon to have a few good weather days around this time, but it is important to remind yourself that we could still have another big snow coming until the middle of April. So, when we had three days of beautiful weather, my mom put me in my wheelchair and I sat out on the deck for a little while.

For the first two days, I would bring my camera out with me, but I wouldn’t turn it on. It wasn’t because of the lack of cats coming to see me, I just wanted to enjoy being in the moment with them. I needed a change of scenery and being among the cats, trees and noisy birds was a big comfort to me in those early days. The temperature would seesaw between a good 64 degrees to a chilly 57 degrees and I would only allow myself to stay out for like twenty minutes because I felt like my toes were going to fall off because it was so damn cold!

Even though this is a photo diary, I like being able to just unleash whatever I have in my mind. I tried my best to lie and be all cheery but this is what I’m been dealing with, and I know it can stem from the fact it is five years since my papaw’s passing and I could have suppressed feelings about it. So, I feel somewhat better now that I have unleashed my thoughts before allowing you to see the pictures I took on my third day outside. If you are still reading this, thank you for listening and I hope you enjoy the beautiful photos of our cats.

Do you have any advice for me when it comes to being in a haze? What are your favorite things to do when the weather starts to warm up a bit?

Book Review: “Highland Raven” by Melanie Karsak

Hello!

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!

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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?

Book Review: “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer

Hello!

Since I upped my reading challenge to 30 books, I was making that decision mainly to explore all kinds of stories. If I could, I would make room to read books that have made me curious in the past but fought against it at the time or lost interest either in the beginning or halfway through, and oddly enough Twilight is one of those books. As you might know, one of my favorites: The Vampire Diaries came on the air in 2009, which was less than a year after the first Twilight film came out. I do remember taking a chance and trying to read the book at my school’s library in that time frame but I just couldn’t shake it and ended up shoving it all away.

Mentally, I had Twilight on my to be read list, but it wasn’t until all of the films appeared in order on Showtime that I was like, “okay, I’m doing this! I am reading the books.” and within a few days, I had ordered it right along with my other books on my Kindle. It was the only print book I bought myself for a late Christmas gift and the sheer size intimidated me once again, even my dad thought it was a lot at the time, and was very proud to know that I had finished it too. These 300-400+ paged books have nothing on me anymore!


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About three things I was absolutely positive.

First, Edward was a vampire.

Second, there was a part of him—and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be—that thirsted for my blood.

And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

Deeply seductive and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight is a love story with bite.

taken from Goodreads.

The funny part about this whole thing, was my thought after I finished working on the banner above, it was simply, “would anyone be interested in another reading a review of Twilight?” I thought it was hilarious at first, but then it was, like I think I could make this different from others, to make it look like a brand new book. Eh, we’ll see what happens after this post publishes.

There is one more thing I need to point out; I have maybe seen each movie possibly once since they were all out on DVD. So, I was actually able to create what all of the characters, setting and what I was reading in general looked like, and it was so freeing! I’ve never been so proud of myself for doing this, because even though I kept seeing Billy Burk for Charlie, Anna Kendrick for Jessica, and Robert Pattinson for Edward, everyone else was very much of a blur at first but as I got towards the middle of the book, I could see different features for everything and it was interesting to say the least!

I want to say that I was pretty interested at the start, when we are introduced to Bella. It was sort of odd how Edward isn’t able to read her mind but yet we, as the reader, know everything she is thinking when she’s with and without Edward around, and as we continued in the story, I began to see this character in a new light, because I just thought she was too stoic, but learning more about her and how she thinks, was enlightening to me.

“How ghastly it would be, I thought, shuddering, if Charlie had, even the slightest inkling exactly what I did like.”

There are not very many times I will pick out favorite chapters, but I thought Chapters 13 to 16, were some of the most thrilling stories. It also answered a lot of things I remember weren’t really shared in the films. I absolutely loved learning more about Edward, how he became a vampire and what kind of circumstances were present when Carlisle gave him new life. My respect for Carlisle went over the roof as Bella was introduced to the story of how he was created and why he became a doctor in the first place. As I was reading these four chapters, I was allowing myself to slow my pace, because I have always been curious to learn more about the rest of the Cullens.

Once I got to Chapter 17, which is called “The Hunt” everything kind of changed and there was really no stopping in between because the events taking place are quick and you are automatically reading it as fast you can or at least, that’s what to me. Unfortunately, I had to stop just before I hit the epilogue, because my mom wanted to go to bed and it irked me so much to stop that I couldn’t get her out of my room fast enough; once she left though, I resumed my position and finished the book all in about four hours!

Now that I am done reading, I kind of want to restrain myself from actually watching the films and finishing the book series, in case, there is information featured that I might want to know beforehand. Of course, I’ve been waiting to watch the fist one for like two months and I don’t know when I’ll be able to receive the next book yet.

Have you read the Twilight series or maybe just one of the books by Stephenie Meyer? Do you remember if you had a favorite chapter(s) in that first book? Which couple do you ship?

Book Review: “A Touch Of Ruin” by Scarlett St. Clair

Hello!

Well, I am back with my third review of a Scarlett St. Clair book.

If you didn’t know I have already read A Touch Of Darkness written with Persephone, as the main focus, and A Game Of Fate told in Hades’ point of view of the same plot. This one continues Persephone’s story following the events at the end of both books. Scarlett is releasing A Touch Of Malice in May 2021 and A Game Of Retribution sometime next winter. I know it seems very confusing but that’s just how I read both series and will as the rest of the books are released.

I really tired during the last week of January to change up what was next on my list but I couldn’t leave it alone and honestly, I think it was the best thing I could have done because now I can officially move on from the story of Hades and Persephone and read other genres, like nonfiction, and be fully committed to it.


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Persephone’s relationship with Hades has gone public and the resulting media storm disrupts her normal life and threatens to expose her as the Goddess of Spring.

Hades, God of the Dead, is burdened by a hellish past that everyone’s eager to expose in an effort to warn Persephone away.

Things only get worse when a horrible tragedy leaves Persephone’s heart in ruin and Hades refusing to help. Desperate, she takes matters into her own hands, striking bargains with severe consequences.

Faced with a side of Hades she never knew and crushing loss, Persephone wonders if she can truly become Hades’ queen.

taken from Goodreads.

I think the best way to describe this story is, it was a roller coaster of different emotions. I was proud, envious, in love, sad, and God help me, aroused throughout much of the book. Sorry to any family members out there who are reading this post and wishing I hadn’t shared that little tebibit.

“I just need a mental health day,” Persephone said.

Anyways…

There are a lot of things in this story. We talk about the ultimatum that Demitri gave her in the beginning, the ins and outs of Apollo and Sybil’s relationship, how the Goddess of Spring is dealing with her new found powers, and eventually we get on to Lexa. On top of all of this, we have the new relationship with Hades and the prospect of becoming his wife and eventually Queen of the Underworld.

As much as I saw Persephone as a strong woman in the first book, I didn’t really see her like that here. There are a few parts where she comes out like a total badass, but I find with this one, she is more whiny than anything else. Whenever she was posed with going back and forth between the Underworld and Upperworld, you as the reader could clearly see her juggle more than she could really handle and even though I admired her for wanting to being present in both worlds with her friends she never really found a way to find a steady solution until the end of it. Of course, now that I mention it on here, that was probably the point of the whole story in the first place.

Despite the fact that the story is stretched out in three parts, every single chapter had a lot of information that I am still trying to digest because I know the next book is going to be even more difficult. I am looking forward to checking it out but I am also in need to meditate with Hecate as well or hang out with Hermes, either one would be a blessing in disguise!

Have you read this series yet? What were your thoughts on this installment of the saga of Hades x Persephone? Were your emotions all over the place like mine?