Book Review: “Highland Blood” by Melanie Karsak

Hello.

This April has been absolutely crazy for me but there was one thing I did not expect to do and that was finish reading the second book in the Celtic Blood series by Melanie Karsak. This past month has not been a great month to read any of my books so the fact that I managed to complete this one was an interesting feat altogether!

If you haven’t checked out what I had to say about the first book in the series, Highland Raven, click here to be directed back to that review. If you haven’t read the whole series, and still want to without reading spoilers, you might want to ignore this post as there may be some spoilers included with this review too.


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Scotland, 1032—When a marriage contract calls Gruoch away from Ynes Verleath, she leaves with the hope she’ll be reunited with Banquo. But fate has different plans. Lies, betrayal, and violence await her. Set on a collision course with destiny, Gruoch soon finds herself thrust into the arms of another man. Her dreams shattered and rattled by unexpected brutality, it becomes more than Gruoch can handle. The raven, however, is no stranger to carnage. Fierce power grows inside Gruoch, and more than anything, it craves bloody revenge.

Fans of Outlander and The 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.


I was pleasantly surprised by my overall judgement of this story.

We continue on the journey of Lady Gruoch’s life as she comes back from the otherworld and is transported back to the harsh reality of her life. The entire story is based around a very significant part that happens while walking away from Ynes Verleath and into the coven’s grounds and it will become a big thing for Gruoch as a whole. Although the events that happened at the end of the first book hinted at what could be coming, once this situation appears at the reader’s feet, you know that everything was definitely change.

In the first book, Cerridwen had married her druid by the Gods, but she was still at the mercy at her cousin’s King Malcolm and he has finally found her a suitor to hopefully align him closer to the throne of Scotland. She is forced to marry the lord of Moray, a man by the name of Gillacoemgain. Even though Cerridwen isn’t happy about the arrangement, she has no choice in the matter and weds her new husband and swallows the lie growing inside of her. Even though Gillacoemgain has a particular reputation as a difficult and hard man, they seem to really get along and as the reader, you are hopeful that Gruoch could enjoy this man and the people of Moray.

Be a raven amongst doves.

Since nobody is suppose to know about her time in the coven and her Goddess name, she is generally called Lady Gruoch around the people both at court and out in public, but she is affectionally called Corbie for the majority of the book. You have a good amount of the characters featured in the other book come back like the ladies of the coven plus Grouch’s aunt Madelaine at the very beginning and end of the story.

I generally enjoyed seeing the raven make her presence known, especially against men who are used to telling women to do this or that. Grouch is not like this in any way shape or form, so I was very happy that even though she was a different place, her fierce personality was still awake and well throughout the narrated because this was one of my favorite things about this series. Well, in generally speaking, I enjoy reading about strong women in their various situations. Grouch is a human being and is just learning to accept her role as both a woman in the line of the Scottish throne and as a warrior for the Dark Goddess too.

Have you checked out the second book, Highland Blood by Melanie Karsak yet? If you have, what were some of your thoughts about it?

April Playlist

Happy Monday everyone!

I hope you were able to enjoy the month of April, and you might be a little confused as to why I didn’t blog last week. I am hoping to explain more on Friday but I honestly needed an extra week to not only come up with content but take one heck of a break as well. At the beginning of this month, I got really sick with the stomach flu; unfortunately it is making its rounds in my home town so we have been dealing with the lingering side effects for at least a week after I got better and since I always take a nice break for a number of weeks, I thought you wouldn’t mind if I didn’t publish anything last week. If you or someone you know has been going through the cycle, I am so sorry and hope you start to feel better soon!

As far as talking about music for this month, it was a bit slow obviously, but it wasn’t until the 18th that I actually started to listen to a bunch of music again. It was very odd when I went to make my list to post on here, I literally had less than 15 songs on the Spotify playlist! Honestly I wanted food more than music in the first three weeks than anything else. Once I was able to get over the hurdle, I was really looking for my Discover Weekly playlist that Spotify creates for me every Monday. If the list is really good and practically spot on to the aesthetic I am vibing at the moment, I will listen to the whole thing multiple times a week and of course include any great tunes to the monthly playlist.

Here are the Top 20 songs for April 2021! If you would like to check out the rest of the playlist on Spotify, click here to be transported back there.

Animals by Architects (Orchestra Version)
Numb by Carlie Hanson
Strong by Amaranthe featuring Noora Louhimo
Think Of Me by Verite
Save You by Manafest featuring Redlight King
Heavy Is The Crown by Daughtry
Forget Me Too by Machine Gun Kelly featuring Halsey
Goddess by Xana
Idol by Lauren Babic
Better Without You by Evanscence
Shameless by Biometrix featuring Bolshiee
Like You Love Me by Luna Vexa
Wildflowers by Ava
The Skeleton Key by Epica

Song Of War by KSHMR
Dancing With The Devil by Kitty Antix
Underneath by Zahna
Lay Low by Amy Guess
Genie In A Bottle by Oshri
Better Than You by Caroline Kay

I didn’t mention this last month, but we went up north earlier this month and surprisingly, I don’t remember the music we had playing in the car. However, in my defense, we had the volume low for Nolan but nobody really wanted to listen to anything special–I figured we’d be listening to Demi Lovato’s new album as we drove up there and going back home, which was the reason why I was going to wait to hear it because my sister wanted to hear it too, but now it’s been a while and I’ve only heard one song. I am hoping that I will be checking it out soon though because I am almost done watching the new documentary on YouTube and I will probably be gravitating towards it afterwards!

What were you listening to this month?

Book Review: “Mountain Darkness” by Vanessa Vale

Hello!

I really didn’t think I would have a Friday post, but yet I’m here…

I have been going through a book slum and I’ve had a slow couple of weeks where I am choosing to take a nap in the afternoon over reading my books and it has drove me absolutely crazy! I want to read but nothing has made me get out of this indecisive mood brewing inside, until Vanessa Vale posted that the first book of the Wild Mountain Men series was free and I was, like, “OH THANK GOD!” So, I hope you enjoy what I had to say about this story below.


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If you liked Bridgewater County, you don’t want to miss this hot new series full of wild mountain men!

We want Kit Lancaster. We’ve wanted her for years. Both of us. Me and Donovan. It might not be normal for two guys to claim a woman together, but we live in Cutthroat, Montana and we’ll do what we want.

And what we want to do is Kit.

What could get in the way? Oh yeah, a little thing called murder. And since I’m the lead detective and Donovan’s the prosecutor, it might not be the smartest thing to bed the prime suspect.

As if that would stop us
.

taken from Goodreads.

I have to say, it was really nice to be back reading Vanessa’s stories again. I enjoy the mixture of both series, the suspenseful drama behind all of the sexiness that is definitely hard to resist, but I am especially difficult when it comes to erotica writers. I thought I only loved the inked, bad boy, rock stars and sort of superficial responses of daily life but she is definitely pulling me into the world of having two good men falling for the same girl and have it completely normal in these small towns As hot as this story is and relatable in the thinking of Kit’s thinking was, there are a few things that I was sort of ignoring while reading it, so I need to address those to you before you get this book.

The first thing I need to say is, you might need to read the book I did last year called, Ride Me Dirty as it explains the ins and outs of this lifestyle, where you have three characters: two guys and one woman in a relationship. It is pretty interesting to explore this world in that series but unfortunately, it is considered more like an afterthought in this book, which is why I wanted to share that book because Vanessa does dive in and explain to you about what means to be in this kind of love triangle.

I was a total slut. And I was loving every minute of it.

The guys are not gay by any means (although that wouldn’t be such a bad idea!) and even though they are upfront about having feelings for this woman and feel protective over her, I feel like it is quite unfair that they do not express any jealous towards each other. There is one point in this book, where it presents itself but is knocked out pretty quickly. And I will say I did not have these thoughts while reading RMD, but it definitely crept into my mind for this one as I couldn’t wrap my mind around it, but in the author’s defense, I’ve only read the first books of each series, so maybe it is mentioned in the next couple of books?

Despite my thoughts above, I honestly loved the story. It was hot and loving all at the same time, so in a way I don’t have much to complain about, other than the fact that this one was much shorter in length. A part of me was thinking that I was only reading fast to get to the good stuff but once I finished, I was kind of stunned with myself but again I think it helped me kick the slump a little bit because it made me excited again to continue reading it. All I wished was that the rest of the series was listed as free on Amazon too, so I wouldn’t have to wait ages to see what else happens because I am more curious with this series than the other one. It had a great cliffhanger and now all I want is more of it, or in this case, Kit, Nix and Donovan!

Have you read the “Wild Mountain Men” series or any other books by Vanessa Vale lately? If you have read this story, what did you love and/or hate about it the most?

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?

March Playlist

Hello!

March has been pretty rocky, between fighting with our WiFi (again!) and not feeling mentally well throughout the last couple of weeks, I am happy to say music has been a saving grace!

I have a couple of things to talk about in this post.

Firstly, let’s go into the monthly playlist as there were so much coming out at one time! I was able to listen to albums and really get a feel into the music scene will be for 2021. I have said this before, but once March comes around, it’s like everything that came out of the hip hop and pop worlds is on everyone’s radar during the summer. It is a crazy time so you need to have your ears and eyes open at all times! The funny part about this though is, I was really into old tracks for the last half of the month…

This is your Top 20 songs that I really enjoyed listening to in March. Click here if you want to check out the entire playlist on Spotify!

Nolita Fairytale by Vanessa Carlton
Better Without You by Evanescence
Maps by Lesley Roy

Hail To The King by Halocene featuring Cole Rolland
My Head & My Heart by Ava Max
The Parting Glass by Celtic Woman
Now You Know by Icon For Hire
If I Had A Heart by Rachel Hardy
Superwoman by Alicia Keys
Power Is Power by Fear of Water
Open Your Eyes (Deep Blue Songspell) by Bea Miller
Woman by Ellie Goulding
Cry Little Sister by Vomitron featuring Anneke van Giersbergen
Guest Room by Echos
Confessional by Janet Devlin
Problema by Daddy Yankee
Call You Out by Flyleaf
Bystander by Sumo Cyco
The Ritual by Eternal Eclipse
Hate by Plush

Now we are going to move on to something that was announced back in mid-February.

One of my favorite symphonic metal bands Delain that I found in the start of my rock n roll phase back in 2010 have decided to break up essentially, It was announced through their social medias, I found out on Instagram and it was a message from Martijn Westerholt. He is the keyboardist but the founding member of the band itself, and he let all of the fans know what the future holds for Delain as a whole. If you would like to read the rest of the statement, click here.

In my little selfish way, I had wished they made this decision last year but it seems that they weren’t ready yet to say anything about it. Maybe they hoped once the new year came around, they would still be together. So, now here we are and my thoughts from the first moment I read it to today, I still don’t have anything bad to say. I know it is heartbreaking for the fans, but this happens everyday, however, what I made me excited about the decision was the band ‘Delain’ would still be here, just now with the current members. New people would be added and they will create music and relationships with all kinds of fans.

Since the announcement, I have thought of various ways the band can evolve and the one thing that comes to mind is they could go deeper into the fantasy world that has kind of become part of the symphonic metal and rock discography. I also think it would neat to see them go into the metal sphere a little bit more. I have never considered them ‘metal’ despite their best efforts, I just didn’t like it as much. All in all I am actually excited for the next edition of Delain.

What have you been listening to lately?