LISTENER

Angela B. Chrysler

Endicott, NY USA
  • 23
  • reviews
  • 18
  • helpful votes
  • 35
  • ratings
  • The Fearless Highlander

  • Highland Defender, Book 1
  • By: Amy Jarecki
  • Narrated by: Joel Froomkin
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 240
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 219
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 219

Heir to the most notorious clan in the Highlands, Hugh MacIain hides his identity while imprisoned in the bowels of Fort William's hell. Aye, this braw warrior has endured horrors that should have seen him dead, though now it appears it's the bloody flux that will send him to Satan's fire. Optimistic, competent, and captivating, Charlotte Hill takes pity on the fevered prisoner sprawled atop a cot in the fort's surgery. When finally the Highlander opens his eyes, he seizes her heart with a pained stare.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding.

  • By Starlet M. on 05-16-16

Oh, My. So beautiful I cried and cried. Encore!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-11-19

I just started reading through Amy Jarecki's books. That being said, this is a masterpiece! Not just a romance, the love between Charlotte and Hugh was so deep, so beautiful it really made the sex between the two characters a secondary emotion making it all that more beautiful.

Not only that, I really hesitate to call this a romance novel. It is a love story that truly depicts the horrors of the Glencoe Massacre. Jarecki backed off from the romance aspect of this right when it was time to focus on the historical aspect. Simply a beautiful balance between romance and history.

This book has made me a die-hard Jarecki fan.

One note on the Audio Editing: There was a technical error at the very end of chapter 37 (It may have been Chapter 38).

  • Return of the Highland Laird

  • A Highland Force Novella, Book 4
  • By: Amy Jarecki
  • Narrated by: Dave Gillies
  • Length: 3 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 166
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 153
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 152

An untimely tempest transports two miserable and lost souls to England's Abbey Wood where they stumble across each other’s paths. Lady Jane, a battered woman and accused murderess - Laird Alexander, fleeing his keep after blaming himself for the accidental death of his wife. Both souls must heal their wounds. Both souls have reason to keep their identities hidden. This misshapen pair discovers each needs the other - though neither is willing to admit dependence.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Oh My Laird!

  • By Ndulgent Bloggrs on 09-30-15

Perfect ending to the series!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-11-19

I loved this little novella. It was sweet and really unpredictable! This is one book where I wish it lasted longer, but I think a longer story would have taken away from the sweet little romance that this is.

  • Beauty and the Barbarian

  • Highland Force, Book 3
  • By: Amy Jarecki
  • Narrated by: Brad Wills
  • Length: 10 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 244
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 229
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 226

Born with the mark of the devil, Merrin has been hidden on the islet of Eilean Fladda for near 20 years. When the body of a Highlander washes ashore, the innocent lass presumes him dead. Brushing the hair from the rugged warrior's face, her fingers connect with warm flesh. Warm. Ian MacLeod wakes to a woman so radiant, he believes her an angel. But when the lass recoils from him, he fears she knows of his evil deeds.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beauty and the Barbarian

  • By Debbie Brown on 11-29-14

A lot of hype leading to a kazoo solo

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-11-19

After Book #2 of this series, I ran to through Book #3 eager to learn more of Enya and Bran. While this novel started off passionate, and immediately launched into action, it left me unsatisfied.

So this peasant falls in love with this poor not-a-Laird...and I just don't care. Am I shallow? Am I so materialistic that, unless he is wealthy and powerful, I just don't care? Am I a horrible person!? Perhaps.

So...**no spoilers** Merrin is an isolated commoner/peasant on her own little island because everyone thinks she's a witch, and Ian, the not-a-Laird, finds Merrin who gets wrapped up in his troubles. Why didn't I like this book? It was sweet, but I just didn't care. I couldn't see how their happily ever after would be much different than the impoverished lifestyle Merrin lived before Ian came along. Only now, she had love and would be happy. Eh.

I hated the mangy dog under everyone's feet. I hated the on again/off again witch hunt. I hated the whiny superstitious, in-the-way, father.

The book wasn't bad. I just didn't enjoy it.

The title says "The Beauty and the Barbarian." There was no Barbarian! I was waiting for Laird Alexander to die and Ian becomes Laird and Merrin has to learn how to be a lady, and the people all have to kneel to a witch. But none of that happened! The climax did suck, It was an anti-climax. Just, a lot of hype leading to a kazoo solo.

  • The Highland Henchman

  • Highland Force, Book 2
  • By: Amy Jarecki
  • Narrated by: Brad Wills
  • Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 238
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 220
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 221

Intent on winning a Lowlander's tournament, Bran MacLeod travels south with his laird. All goes as planned, except spirited Miss Enya Ross continually distracts him, and in the oddest situations. With no business lusting after a baron's daughter, Bran decides to return to Raasay - until his laird pledges Bran's services in the fight to reinstate Mary, Queen of Scots to the throne.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A passionate highland romance worth 6 stars!

  • By Nicole Laverdure on 04-16-15

Gorgeous! Perfect! Encore! Bought the paperbacks!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-06-19

So...I just spent $43.00 on Amazon for the paperback format of this series...because of this book. That's right! This series just got awarded SPACE ON MY NON-CORPOREAL BOOKSHELF!

Brad Wills. Oh my god! Can that man read! Follow this narrator and just listen! Damn! I have my own review to write just for him in a moment.

I finished this book in a day and all but ran to write a review, but work and babies detained me. Now that I'm here, I'm speechless.

When I sit down with a book, I have a number of expectations. Make me forget they aren't real. Make me forget where I am. Make me forget to live in this world. Make me hate to return (and I have a GREAT life I love to get back to). The problem (for me) is, the writing must be beyond credible. The world building has to be so real that I can smell the floral of a world I've never seen. The characters have to be so human that I want to love them as if they were my own.

Amy Jarecki does.

When I put down Book #1 of this series, there was too much "Outlander" for me to enjoy it. Don't get me wrong. I am the world's biggest Outlander fanatic, but I turned to romance to take a break from Outlander without straying too far from the Highlands of Scotland. I said, "If Jarecki could get away from Gabaldon and stick to her own story, her story could be something great." In Book #2, she does and oh my god...! The Outlander in Book #1 really held this author back.

No matter my complaints, I couldn't stay away. The way Jarecki depicted the Highlands, her writing style called me back. I read another romance novel (I audible one 10-hour book a day) and I found I MISSED Jarecki's writing and her Highlands. Regardless of my issues with Book #1, I started book #2 and am SO glad I did!

The attraction level between Bran and Enya is perfect! It builds, not too fast, not too slow, but just right. A look across the room. The sudden and unexpected (yes, unexpected! I did NOT see it coming!) rendezvous, the eye contact and first kiss. It was all so perfect! Nothing felt unnatural or rushed. Bran and Enya just were.

The plot was outstanding! Kept me guessing. Kept me moving. Kept me crying out. Jarecki got tears out of me over and over. It was just a beautiful passionate romance about their love. The sex was only natural, and so not the focus despite it being there and being very hot!

If I had one complaint, ***spoiler free** it's that the ending was too abrupt. An abrupt time jump following the climax left me VERY unsatisfied, but not so much that it affected the ratings this review is getting. This ending is a bittersweet one. So much so, that I ran to Book #3 JUST to see if we learn more about Bran and Enya (we do). I really wanted an epilogue.

Now! About Brad Wills!

Holy. Shiite! When he first opened his mouth...his accent...The Scottish accent has only about 14,000 variations **exaggeration**. I'm used to David Tennant (Lowlander) and the entire cast of Outlander. The best Highlander accent I've ever heard was in one episode of Sex and the City. Season 3 Episode 12 "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" when Samantha hooks up with a man from Edinburgh. Brad Wills doesn't just depict the Scottish accent, he depicts the Highlander brogue perfectly! It actually took me a while to get through Chapter 1 and 2 to understand him, but once my ear adapted, it was much easier. Just gorgeous reading! His performance really brought this book to life around me. I have four new series I will be starting soon JUST so I can hear more of Brad Wills read. FOLLOW THIS NARRATOR 'CUZ DAMN!


This is the end of the review, scroll down for spoilers.



***START SPOILERS START***


On a personal note: I am currently undergoing my 3rd IVF and have lived through two miscarriages. The end of this story really hit home to me and it broke me. Jarecki! You depicted miscarriage and all the emotions involved too well! You broke my heart! Well done!


***END SPOILERS END***

  • Falling for the Highlander

  • By: Lynsay Sands
  • Narrated by: Elle Newlands
  • Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 522
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 465
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 464

Lady Murine Carmichael has known her share of bad luck. But when her debt-ridden half brother tries to sell her off in exchange for a few Scottish horses, it's the final straw. If keeping her freedom means escaping through harsh countryside alone, so be it. She has barely begun her journey when she lands an unlikely escort - the brawny Highlander who just refused to buy her virtue.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good but not great by Lynsay Sands

  • By signe on 03-15-17

The series lost its sizzle, but still sweet.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-06-19

This is book #4 of the series and, to be honest, the pot lost its momentum.
By far, Book #2 and Book #3 were phenomenal with their triple threat of good writing, good plot, and good narration so that, when I finished this, I felt like the passion between Murine and Dougal was lacking. Where the others left me screaming "OH MY GOD YOU GOTTA READ THIS!" This one left me shrugging saying,"Eh. It was sweet." I really didn't feel the burn between Murine and Dougal. It wasn't a marriage of convenience, but it sure felt like it.

  • To Marry a Scottish Laird

  • By: Lynsay Sands
  • Narrated by: Keiran Elliott
  • Length: 10 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 729
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 662
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 661

Highlander Campbell Sinclair is no stranger to battle, so when he sees a lad attacked by bandits, he jumps into the fray. He didn't count on being stabbed. Grateful to the boy for nursing him back to health, Cam offers to accompany Jo safely to his destination. But when he accidentally comes across the lad bathing in the river, Cam discovers that Jo is actually Joan...with the most sinful of curves.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Adventure, Mystery and Romance. Its got it all.

  • By 🌸DARA on 07-10-14

LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-02-19

This is my new favorite romance novel! I can't tell you why because there are too many spoilers and WOW! The plot just flipped me on my ass! I am currently on Book #4 of this series, and Book #2 was a massive milestone for me in Romance reading. Just amazing!

Read Book #1 then READ THIS BOOK! Just love it!

  • An English Bride in Scotland

  • By: Lynsay Sands
  • Narrated by: Mary Jane Wells
  • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 973
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 891
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 890

Annabel was about to take the veil to become a nun, when her mother suddenly arrived at the abbey to take her home...so that she can marry the Scottish laird who is betrothed to her runaway sister! She knows nothing about being a wife, nothing about how to run a household, and definitely nothing about the marriage bed. From the moment Ross MacKay sets eyes on Annabel, he is taken with his shy, sweet bride...and the fact that she's blessed with lush curves only makes him utter his own prayers of thanks. But when an enemy endangers her life, he'll move the Highlands themselves to save her.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • So Adorably Sweet!

  • By 🌸DARA on 06-28-13

Sweet little romance...But wait! There's more!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-02-19

I really liked this title. It was fun, sweet, and simple. However...

When I finished, I jumped right into Book #2 and read straight through Books 3 and 4 of this series. That being said...Read this book! Then go right into book #2! DAMN! IT GETS GOOD! But you've got to read this first!

  • The Highlander Takes a Bride

  • By: Lynsay Sands
  • Narrated by: Penelope Nederhorst
  • Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 581
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 529
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 532

Sword fighting, swearing, and riding astride come naturally to Saidh Buchanan. Simpering and holding her tongue - definitely not. Raised alongside seven boisterous brothers, Saidh has little interest in saddling herself with a husband...until she glimpses the new Laird MacDonnell bathing naked in the loch.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Well Written and Entertaining, but Old Story Llne

  • By Colleen on 05-22-18

Everything I want is here!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-02-19

This book was a rare treat! It gave me what I wanted when I wanted it! No misunderstandings. No beating around the bush. No emoting. Just honest, down to earth, I want you. We have to be secret about this. I love you, "Ah fuck it!" And they do! Such a fun read!

I could NOT figure out the end! The author had me pulling my hair out with trying to figure out who killed who, why and when. EXCELLENT JOB!

  • Captured by the Pirate Laird

  • Highland Force, Book 1
  • By: Amy Jarecki
  • Narrated by: Paul Woodson
  • Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 592
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 533
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 534

Wed by proxy to a baron old enough to be her grandfather, Lady Anne trudges up the gangway of a galleon that will deliver her into the arms of a tyrant. Crestfallen, she believes her disastrous life cannot get worse - until she awakes to the blasts of cannon fire. Facing certain death, Anne trembles in her stateroom while swords clash and the chilling screams of battle rage on the deck above. When a rugged Highlander kicks in her door, she prays for a swift end.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved it!

  • By Virginia on 11-07-14

Borrowed too much from Outlander.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-02-19

This would have been good if the author wasn't constantly "borrowing" from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander.

I really struggled with this title.

The author had her own story in mind...and she had clearly read and loved Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series...and, for half the book, she was blatantly pulling material from Outlander.

Without spoilers, here are some examples that stood out the most.
1 - One of the characters is named Dougal McKenzie.
2 - The sadistic antagonist is very Randall-like in behavior...and he also has a fondness for lavender oil.
3 - You know that part in Outlander when Jamie is flogged by Randall at Fort William? It's here.
4 - There are some moments "borrowed" from Wentworth Prison
5 - Drums of Autumn (Outlander Book #2) makes an appearance when Anne finds herself in very much the same position as Claire when she "visits" the Duke of Sandringham.

The second half of the book just felt like three scenes of Outlander had merged together. The similarities were painfully too close for my taste.

The most painful part of this, however, is the agonizing misuse of the McKenzie motto, "I shine. Not burn".

I am Scottish born of the clan McFarlane where our clan motto is "This I'll Defend." Clan motto's are well recorded. They are ancient, and we take great pride in them, Google any clan name, and you can see what the motto, logo, theme song, and battle cry is. The main character is of the Clan McCleod, and, HISTORICALLY SPEAKING, the McCleod motto is "Hold Fast." IT IS NOT "I Shine. Not Burn." McCleod's logo is of an image of a bull and not a sunrise.

Instead of doing her own damn research, the author just read and copied Outlander and gave the McCleod Clan the motto belonging to the McKenzie Clan. WTF!? Do your own research!

Another annoying bit that reflected a lack of research on the author's part was the terms for weapons used. At the end of the book, someone pulls out a morningstar. The author didn't know it's called a morningstar and also, didn't bother to find out. After describing the morningstar, she decides to call the morningstar a mace. A mace is not a morning star. Do your damn research OR don't write what you don't know.

The book started off shaping into its own story. The writing started off poorly written with cheesy dialogue, but the writing improved as the author neared the end.

The narrator was not my type. His skills were excellent. His tone color was very wrong for this book. He sounded like a posh noble. At times, the Scottish accent sounded Russian.

In short, the book was good and quite enjoyable when the author wasn't trying to rewrite Outlander. Had she actually done clan research instead of improperly quoting from Gabaldon, the story would have been great.

I felt like two completely separate books were crammed into this one, and one of of them (Outlander) had no business being here.

  • The Hellion and the Highlander

  • By: Lynsay Sands
  • Narrated by: Marianna Palka
  • Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 691
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 497
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 491

Lady Averill Mortagne learned to control her fierce temper as a young girl. But if her father insists on parading her before one more English lord who looks askance at her flame-colored hair, she'll simply scream! Her only respite is the time she spends with Kade Stewart, the wounded Scot her brother brought home from the Crusades. Who could have imagined a Highland warrior would be the only gentleman around?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Worst Narrator in history

  • By Nikki on 11-22-11

Finally!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-22-19

Book 1 of this series was okay, but the narrator was TERRIBLE. Book 2, the narrator was MUCH better, but the story was GARBAGE.

Book 3 was finally the proper balance of good story, good writing, and good narrating! Finally! Both have found their stride!

With finishing this book I was more than happy to start up the next Highlander series by Sands.

Would recommend starting with this book and just skipping the first two.