23 August 2009

Ode to Karen Moning: Spell Of The Highlander

~click on ocver to buy a copy~
Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Dell (June 23, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0440245540
ISBN-13: 978-0440245544


Powerful. Sensual. Seductive. He is all that is shamelessly erotic in a man. In her sexiest Highlander novel yet, New York Times bestselling author Karen Moning stirs up a sizzling brew of ancient mystery and modern passion as she brings together a devilishly handsome Celtic warrior trapped in time . . . and the woman who’s about to pay the ultimate price for freeing him. Age-old secrets haunt them. Deadly danger and irresistible desire shadow their every move. It’s a relationship for the ages. And all that separates them is a mere thirteen hundred years. . . .

Jessi St. James has got to get a life. Too many hours studying ancient artifacts has given the hardworking archaeology student a bad case of sex on the brain. So she figures she must be dreaming when she spies a gorgeous half-naked man staring out at her from inside the silvery glass of an ancient mirror. But when a split-second decision saves her from a terrifying attempt on her life, Jessi suddenly finds herself confronting six and a half feet of smoldering, insatiable alpha male.

Heir to the arcane magic of his Druid ancestors, eleven centuries ago Cian MacKeltar was trapped inside the Dark Glass, one of four coveted Unseelie Hallows, objects of unspeakable power. When the Dark Glass is stolen, an ancient enemy will stop at nothing to reclaim it, destroying everything in his path–including the one woman who may just hold the key to breaking the ninth-century Highlander’s dark spell. For Jessi, the muscle-bound sex god in the mirror is not only tantalizingly real, he’s offering his protection–from exactly what, Jessi doesn’t know. And all he wants in exchange is the exquisite pleasure of sharing her bed.

Yet even as Cian’s insatiable hunger begins to work its dark magic on Jessi, his ancient enemy is about to obtain the final and most dangerous of the Unseelie Hallows–and the ninth-century Highlander must stop him from getting it. Nothing less than the very fabric of the universe and two passionately entwined lives are at stake–as Cian and Jessi fight to claim the kind of love that comes along but once in an ice age. . . .

I always tend to scribble down notes with comments, thoughts or feelings regarding a novel while reading. Not so with Spell Of The Highlander, I was immersed in this tale and just went with the motion of the story. I was surrounded by intrigue and mystery as the Fae queen Aoibheal tipped the veil the slightest bit to let me know there was more going on then what I first thought upon reading The Immortal Highlander. I quickly turned the page to find another prologue which held the introduction to the raw and primeval Cian MacKeltar.

The prologue was a great appetizer but I was ready and set for the main course, the story of Jessica St. James and her endeavors to save Cian MacKeltar. Jessica is working hard for her PhD and has it all together. Her future carefully planned out and if nothing goes wrong she will concur her goals head on. Now there is nothing wrong with looking at a couple making out like there is no tomorrow and feel jealous. She has her PhD to look forward to instead of a man worshipping her body for all to see. She had a life…sort of. At that moment her phone rings and knocked her plans in to chaos. That is the evening an Unseelie object reaches with its cold claws in to her existence. And that is when Cian MacKeltar made himself known to her in all his savage glory.

She must be suffering from temporarily insanity to help him but with a murderer on their heels she has little choice.

The blend of background information with suspense and romance really hit the bull’s eye in Spell Of The Highlander. I received all sorts of information that didn’t quite make sense immediately but by the time I closed this novel I was convinced of the fact that the Highlander series is Karen Moning’s first move in a larger scheme of storytelling. Jessica and Cian’s road trip from Chicago to Scotland was filled with danger, ravaging passion, a dash of magic and a whole lot of the male-female clashing of wills. Cian deep-voiced her to take of her woolen, Jessica told him to take a hike. Cian wants her to stop talking, Jessica told him ‘in his dreams’. He demands of her not to save him, she couldn’t help but try.

The pages possibly vibrated with the temperamental energy humming between Cian and Jessica. I love the Neanderthal hero who turns out to have a good heart in the end and an intelligent woman who gives the right amount of resistance without becoming overly obstinate or obnoxious in attitude. While the basic of the story feels like The Immortal Highlander, Cian and Jessica, with their troubles are unique and very different in vibe. Have it all wrap up in the ominous thoughts of an all powerful Fae Queen and I couldn’t let go of these characters and their journey.

Cian MacKeltar is a man’s man, he is the Alpha in Alpha male, he is the blue print of all the future MacKeltar’s. Which means he is high on primeval elemental power, he is rough and tough, he is undiluted sex, power and magic in a package that is ripped with muscles, long hair and features that scream his Celtic heritage. Cian MacKeltar is the MacKeltar that grabbed me, lured me deeper in to the tale, allowed emotions to sky-rocket and love to blossom in all its radiant facets. Especially when he thumped his chest telling Jessica she fits him here. I couldn’t get enough of him and thereby I could empathize with every decision Jessica had to make and the ramifications it represented her with.

Jessica is brainy, humorous, tenacious, impassioned and true of heart. Those are the first adjectives that come to mind when thinking of her character. I would almost call her a “typical” Karen Moning heroine who is rebellious against the domineering male, holds her own in a fierce argument and matches the passion blazing inside a MacKeltar. Jessica is a combination of all of the above but also has a tenderness inside her with dreams and hopes that shine like bright stars. The complete personality of Jessica made me like her and genuinely made me care about her happily ever after. Because as the story progressed there was a huge obstacle between her and a happy ending, and his name was Lucan Myrddin Trevayne.

As a true villain he made me root for the good guys, he was innate evil and no matter what happened or what he did, that did not change. He was Cian’s nemesis and gave the romance a high stake feel to it. In each Highlander novel there is a time of utter romantic bliss, ablaze with sensuality, of lovers discovering each other and the timing is different but perfect in each novel. Spell Of The Highlander knows such a time too but it is also a double-edged sword with the choices Cian had to face. I was swept of my feet and holding my breath for a solution at the same time as each day something utterly beautiful happened between the romantic couple. I wanted so much for Cian and Jessica because from the get-go I was connected to them. It also made the final pages so emotional fraught and tissues were needed in the end.

A Highlander story wouldn’t be a highlander story if more MacKeltar’s did not join the cast of supporting characters. The MacKeltar twin and their wives, Drustan and Gwen with Dagues and Chloe, who play a key part in the end. My love for the MacKeltar clan runs deep and they will never be too much in a Moning novel. With the mystifying after thought of Queen Aoibheal I know the Fever series will be connected somehow to this wonderful, exhilarating and rip-roaring good series.

Cian MacKeltar and Jessica St.James gave an astonishing and fabulous ending to a series I will forever treasure on my shelves. Again romance and the world of Druid and Fae worked their magic to deliver a tale I can only rave about. I hope to enjoy Karen Moning’s limitless fantasy for a very long time to come!

Quote Jessica asking Cian if he even likes her at all;
His gaze was dark with unfathomable emotion as he stared down at her. She stared, trying to determine what it was. It was an emotion she’d seen several times before, and at the oddest moments. It was regret, she realized abruptly. A subtle yet bottomless sorrow in those beautiful, darkly lashed eyes. But what was he regretting, and why at this, as opposed to any other? It made no sense to her!
Suddenly he smiled, and the sadness was vanquished by whiskey heat. “Aye, Jessica, I like you. And I’m not just stuck with you. You fit me here, woman.” He thumped his chest with his fist. Then he shook her hand from his forearm and pushed off with the cart again. Jessi watched him move down the aisle, all sleek animal muscle and dark grace.
Wow. He wasn’t a man of many words, but when he used them, he certainly used the right ones. You fit me here. You are the exception to everything.

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  1. Happy birthday, dear Leontine! So happy to hear you had a great celebration yesterday! I sure hope you got some of those books you wanted!

  2. Hi Amy,
    A birthday post is in the making instead of a Mailbox Monday Amy. And oh did I get the books I wanted!

  3. Happy Happy Birthday Leontine!!! :)

    Cian is my absolutely most favorite of the highlanders! This has been a wonderful week, revisiting all these amazing books....thanks!! :)

  4. Happy Birthday :D
    Sounds like another great book and yummy highlander that have my blood boiling

  5. Happy Birthday!!

    Cian is one of my favorites, and the desk scene - oh my!! I enjoyed seeing the twins and their wives again in this book.

    Glad you did this week-long homage, I may have to re-read them all again.

  6. Happy Birthday Leontine!

    Karen's stories were some of the first romances I read with very strong alpha heroes, who mellow out so wonderfully from the beginning of the story til the end. And Karen gives us smart and sexy women who can hold their own with these dynamic men, with no whining. Love that.

    Cian and Jessica were another of my favorite couples.

  7. Happy Birthday Leontine!!
    Here's a present for you

    Oh and the book sounds great.

  8. Happy Birthday!

    I have a hard time deciding which one I like more, this one or Kiss. This is the one I listened to in audiobook (I was mistaken in another comment I made to you on your Touch post). I loved this on audiobook - I highly recommend them with Phil Gigante's voice - it is to die for! He is so good at doing the Scottish voices, and this one was a tour de force with the Cian in the mirror, and the Cian in person!

  9. WOW happy birthday. I wish you a great day and many many more. Eat a piece of cake and ice cream for me.

    I would love to win. I heard so much about Karen's books.

  10. It's a little late, but Happy Birthday!!!


I love to hear all your voices and opinions so thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.