A HEATED RIVALRY…
Morrigan McNab is a Highland lady, robbed of her birthright and with no choice but to fight alongside her brothers to protect their impoverished clan. When she encounters Sir Jacques Dragonet, she discovers her fiercest opponent…
IS GETTING EVEN HOTTER…
Sir Jacques Dragonet will give his life to defend Scotland from the English. He can’t stop himself from admiring the beautiful Highland lass who wields her weapons as skillfully as he does, and endangers his heart even more than his life…”
Rating: Think of the lowest rating, multiply it by Fifty Shades of Grey, and bury it with a naked mole rat for company. (1 / 5 on Goodreads because apparently no stars is not possible)
Format: Paperback (why did I pay money for this?!)
Started: April 11th, 2016
Finished: April 12th, 2016
Booze Pairing: I hate whiskey but I need a lot of glasses after this book.
Smut Count: 1 (before I couldn’t read any more)
And hey! What can you expect? He’s a monk!
I can’t do it. I didn’t enjoy this book, I couldn’t read the supposedly strong Scottish accents as anything but gargly pirate drawl, I hated almost everything about the main girl, I found nothing at all remotely romantic, and I couldn’t bring myself to read the last 100 pages (I tried, I really did!).
Nothing about a monk-knight, traipsing around Scotland looking for a treasure of the Knights Templar is in any way interesting to me, let alone a turn-on. If I had known the secondary plot-line was a religious scavenger hunt I would never have picked it up. After getting to the end of chapter twenty-five, aka page 300, I come to this line:
Her cheeks were flushed red from the cold and the exertion. Her hair was completely wrapped in a long, brown stocking cap. It could be an attractive look for no one, but still… he only had eyes for her.
Which, considering he was still a monk and had a relic to steal back, was a bit of a problem.
More relic hunting? Nope, nuh uh. Fuck it all I’m done.
I’m going to give Forester props – I’m sure there was a lot of fact hunting that needed to be done to write about this. The adventure in the cave with the clues and letters and all that stuff was well thought out and planned (regardless whether I cared for it as much as I do a loose tooth), and sounded very Templar-esque. I’m not a historian or well-read in Christianity/Catholicism/what-have-you and I don’t even know if the blanket of dying Jesus is a thing and was found (not even going to google it), but props for making it sound impressive and important.
As for the rest of this book, I have no sympathy. Morrigan is the Scottish “lass” who stomps around Scotland in her pants and boots pretending to be a man, fighting wars and doing a fine attempt at being “bad-ass.” She has a sharp tongue, a strong accent (that was written in such a splendid pirate drawl I kept picturing her in a kilt with an eye-patch), and an overall horrible attitude about just about anything she laid her eyes on. Her raging temper and lack of substantial thoughts other than Dragonet’s seductive body and alluring black hair and blue eyes, how much she wants to knock everyone else senseless, and how much she hates other women because “they’re women and I’m not” had me putting the book down several times and trying my hardest not to rip out a page or two. There was a contradiction with every thought she had and her ridiculous habit of asking someone a question, receiving an answer, and then scolding them for giving her information she “didn’t want” was grating. Examples:
“Well ye offered yer advice, now what do ye want?” demanded Morrigan.
“You mentioned a room?”
“So ye dinna wish to bed one o’ those wenches?”
“I am greatly tired. All I want is to sleep.”
“Have them come for ye in the morn. They can service ye after ye’re rested.”
“I do not wish to be… serviced.”
Morrigan shrugged and continued up the stairs, skirts in hand. “‘Tis no concern o’ mine. I dinna ken why ye should tell me about it.”
Also (pre-text: he has one of them wrist-knives that snap open with a levi-OH-sa wrist flick; Morrigan has never seen one; they’re flirting while relieving the other of their hidden weapons and it’s becoming too hot to handle.. supposedly):
“I have ne’er seen the like. Did ye make it yerself?” Morrigan tried to focus on the knife, but her hands ran over the leather harness, the steel and leather hilt, his warm hand with well-worn calluses on his palm and fingers. The marks of a swordsman.
“Y-yes.” The French knight’s voice wavered. His eyes were wide and black in the dim light.
“‘Tis well done,” she said softly. “But how do ye draw it?”
With a quick flick of his wrist the knife was in his hand.
Morrigan froze. The blade was pointed toward her. With cold insight she realized she had gotten too close. Her life may be the cost.
“Do ye mean to kill me, knight?” Morrigan quietly placed her hand on her sword hilt.
“Oh how wonderfully interesting this knife blade on your wrist is, but it would be inconvenient to pull out with the other hand while in the middle of a fight – how ever do you wield it?!” *show her how it’s drawn* “GASP! Don’t kill me with the knife I just asked you to show me how to pull it out!”
Am I the only one that wanted to “pull out” with that statement?
I lost track and stopped marking the other moments Morrigan does this stupid dance of hers. It was irritating and pointless. She’s hot then she’s cold, she’s attacking and then she’s begging, and yes – she’s even yes and then she’s no, up and then down (but no kissing because he’s a monk). The only thing I agree with her on is her stance on bribery via. carbs before dresses:
“Come now,” said Alys standing up, her eyes shining. “Let us get ye in yer gown.”
“Bring the gingerbread.”
To avoid continuing on a rant about Morrigan, I’ll finish off with Dragonet (which Morrigan only did one time in 75% of the book because *spoiler* they were both about to die of hypothermia after falling into a river in the middle of the winter because they fought on the unstable planks above said river when Morrigan threw another tantrum):
First, what kind of a name is Dragonet? Secondly, a monk?? Really? How many women get hot and bothered over a monk. I’m sorry, but no amount of muscles or knight-in-shining-armour or serenades from the garden below change the fact that he’s a monk and no matter what you do, you’re condemning the poor fucker to hell by sleeping with him. Unless Dragonet grows a backbone by the end of the book, I found he had more of the monk attitude than that of a knight – timid, graceful, loyal, and forgiving. Though not bad qualities in general, when you read from his perspective and he’s a grown man trying to gain the approval from his father while fighting for his religious virtue, they just make him into a whiny man-child who flips between wants and needs as often as Morrigan asks and un-asks questions. I had to wonder if he is really just a masochist as he tries to deny how much he wants to sack up with his wild Scottish lass (that of course, only he can see is truly beautiful and womanly under the pants, flat bound chest, and demonic attitude), and continues to look for the artifact that will make his asshole father happy who still thinks he’s a bastard and couldn’t care less if he died.
Okay, that’s enough. This book has taken more of my time than it deserves.
True Highland Spirit is about an obnoxious Scottish woman who’s good with a sword and shouts, “Ye dinna know me!” like a spoiled brat at anyone who will listen, and a French monk-knight with a dreamy physique and an accursed responsibility to maintain celibate as he hunts for a priceless religious artifact in Scotland. Nothing about this book was romantic or intriguing and I don’t give a rat’s ass about any of the characters or whether they finally end up sleeping together for a reason other than to not die of cold. I couldn’t finish this book and the only thing good about it is the cover (who has a man wearing a kilt even though it stars a Frenchman? Probably foreshadowing to the end that I’m not going to reach).