22 September 2009

ARC Review: Kimberly Killion - Highland Dragon

~click here to buy a copy~

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Zebra Books (Mass Market)
(October 6, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1420104411
ISBN-13: 978-1420104417

A love born of fire…

A desire that defies all limits…
and a love that was meant to be…

Scotland 1502. Akira Neish has been raised as a peasant, her belly often empty and her family subject to the cruel whims of her clan's laird. To the clan’s children, the horned shaped birthmark she bears means she is a witch. But she is neither peasant nor witch—and now the man who knows the truth has returned to claim her for his own.

Calin MacLeod has kept Akira's secrets and to avenge his father, the sensual young laird must marry her. He is more than a match for the fiery nature of the woman he adores. Yet the passion they share—and truths that can no longer remain hidden— could rip all of Scotland apart....

Scotland, Highland 1484,

It was a night the young Calin MacLeod would not likely forget as he witnessed the murder of his father. It ignited vengeance in his heart as it spread through his veins and burned in his soul. That night, his bride also took her first breath in this world. Only hours ago her birth promised hope for an alliance between the Kinnon and McLeod clan but with a coldhearted brute of a man that hope washed away with the blood of those who lost their life’s that night.

It sounds like familiar plot doesn’t it? It certainly isn’t something that hasn’t been done oodles of times before but if there is one thing the highlanders understand then it was vengeance. And if there is one thing Kimberly Killion understands, it is the spirit of the Scottish highlanders. Highland Dragon is the kind of story where the heart speaks, yearns and seeks a reciprocator for all its desires, and this made it easy for me to lose myself in the story.

Some stories just wrap me in a cocoon, make me snuggle a bit deeper in the couch and some would mark it as a comfort read, Highland Dragon was such a read for me. There were two things that I noticed early on. One, how the cast of characters played on my emotions and two, how the clan politics and intrigue fueled the romance to a higher level. The premise of Calin and Akira’s actual story held it all; betrayal, murder and a secret love. In that premise two youngsters life’s altered forever and it would affect them still in the present. There is nothing I wanted more for Akira and Calin then for them to aim for their own happiness. And so I started in their present story in the times of Scotland, Highlands 1502.

Colin needs to marry Akira so an alliance is formed and a plan is set in motion to unite the Isles and to defeat an old enemy. Calin is all confidence but from the moment he meets Akira nothing goes as planned. Calin is all highlander brawn mixed with the responsibilities of a Laird and a strong sense of Clan loyalty. A good, honest, virile highlander who wants what is good for his clan and a woman beside him leading it. Akira is definitely a woman who knows what she wants, how she wants it and is smart enough to get it. I loved the mix of faith, fury, intelligence and empathy in Akira. She became the heart of the McLeod clan by just being herself and she conquered the heart of Calin in the same way. Their interaction encompassed an area of emotions, from poised and tender to fiery and passionate, to the pain of grief and loss. Their journey is steeped in emotions and I instantly picked up on them, thoroughly rooting me in the story and the exhilarating journey of the main protagonists. This is largely due to empathetic and well drawn characters but also the easy connecting writing style of Kimberly Killion.

There were many supporting characters who became so important in how I experienced this novel. Especially Aunt Wanda with her straight forward, no-nonsense attitude and a romantic beating heart. Four year old Andrew who added such an endearing and funny touch in his display of innocent highlander pride. Kendrick Neish, friend to Colin, and he has six younger sister to take care of is certainly a man who I wanted to know more about. Isobel, sister to Kendrick and Akira, with her quiet grace but with a core of inner strength brought a lovely blossoming secondary romance to the main story. There are more who in some way contributed to complete the picture with lively voices. Opposing the good there are also characters who are innate bad, Laird Baen Kinnon was the epitome of evil and Catriona is just plain selfish and had to get what she wanted, consequences be damned. Both gave Highland Dragon unexpected twists and turns which were intriguing for me to follow.

There was an interchange between the romance, the sensuality, intrigue and character development that ran like clockwork. There is nothing overtly complicated in Highland Dragon, the writing style smooth, working with all the elements present to drive towards a conclusion that had me sighing and in tears at the same time. I just had a remarkable good time reading Highland Dragon. There is desire, highland brogues in abundance, treachery, romance, friendship and loyalty to be found in an authentic highlander tale that is delivered with a passionate voice for the genre.

What can I say more than Highland Dragon is a read for stormy nights and candle lit rooms to take you away to another time, another place, and make you feel romance as is should be, the kind that conquers all!

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  1. fantastic review. Definitely going to be putting this on my TBR list

  2. Great review.
    Sounds like a read for me (I never say no to Scotland ;)

  3. I love a book with great supporting characters - they really are important to a story.

    Nice review:)

  4. Great review! And yet more highlanders...:-)

  5. @Booklover/Blodeuedd/Mandi/SarahT -girls I so very much enjoyed reading this book.

    And Mandi, there is defintely a rich supporting cast, I'm kinda hoping Kimberly will write up the story of Kendrick. He defintely is hero material :)

  6. Stellar Review girl and his one sounds amazing I'm gonna have to get it I've been eyeing it for a while now and after that review in the basket it goes! ;)

  7. Damn woman, you are going to make a highlander lover out of me yet.... I do need to go back to some of your posts for the books names. I went shopping one day and drew a blank when it came to what books to get. Awesome review honey... I think I saw my debit card run away!! LMAO!!
    I hope you had a great night **wink wink** and have a wonderful Wednesday!

  8. I'm obsessed with anything Scottish! I'm hoping I can persuade my husband to dress in a kilt for Halloween *wink wink* In the meantime I'll have to check out this Highlander book you reviewed to get my kicks where I can.

  9. Okay, I gotta ask... Is the heroine someone Japanese? That's what have been bothering me ever since I read the blurb of this book... Otherwise, it does sound good.

    I'm glad you enjoyed it by the way. I'll probably look out for it next week.

  10. @Nath - rofl...no, she is one hundred percent wholesome scottish, I figured they were perhaps old Gaelic names.

  11. You always write such beautiful reviews, this one makes me want to go get this book and it's not a read I'm usually interested in. Love your review style. :)

  12. I love stories that take place in Scotland! So, I'm sure I'd love this book.


  13. @Donna - Glad you enjoy the reviews ;D I had the same reaction a while a go with a review from yours...was it from Jeanne Stein or something and also a review from Blodeuedd. Expanding my book horizon *grin*

    @HAWK - I love the Scottish vibe too and it is a very big trigger for me to buy a book :)

  14. Leontine - You do such a good job writing this review. I totally agree with you assessment of the secondary characters. Little Andrew remains dear to my heart and I loved the smaller romance with Isobel and (I can't remember his name). I will definitely be waiting to see what Killion writes next.


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