Thursday, October 20, 2011

DAY 3: BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY - THE VIPER BY MONICA MCCARTY

The Viper by Monica McCarty

Pub Date: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Format: Paperback; 416 pages / ebook
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Purchased

Book 4 of the Highland Guard series
Blurb: 

The war for Scotland’s sovereignty rages on—as Robert the Bruce is crowned king and the Highland Guard, his elite fighting force of legendary warriors, battle for land... and love.

Prized for his snake-like stealth and deadly strikes, Lachlan “Viper” MacRuairi is a warrior to enlist but not to trust. His only loyalty is to his purse, his indifference sealed by bitter betrayal. All that changes when Lachlan is tasked to protect and deliver Bella MacDuff to the king’s coronation—and the proud, lushly sensual countess unwittingly challenges him to his greatest battle yet: to love again.

Passionate and devoted, Bella has defied Britain’s king and her own husband to place the crown on Bruce’s head—and pays a terrible price. She loses her daughter and her freedom to her husband’s vengeance. Imprisoned with barbaric cruelty, she vows to reclaim her child, even if it means selling her soul—and her body—to a dark, lethal warrior whose eyes glint like steel, but who makes her skin tingle and her breath race. Together they embark on a rogue mission with sinister twists and turns that threatens not only Bella’s gamble to save her daughter—but also her heart

My Synopsis:
Lachlan MacRuairi has been fighting for the last two years to get back to Isabella "Bella" MacDuff. Bella and the family and friends of Robert the Bruce were captured during a mission that Lachlan was in charge of. He was assigned to guide them to safety by Robert the Bruce. After their capture the English kept them prisoner for the last two years. Lachlan has blamed himself for failing to protect Bella and the rest of the group. Bella and Bruce's younger sister have been punished the most severely by the English. Both have been imprisoned in a cage above two separate English strongholds.

For the last two years, Bella has cursed the sword for hire and scourge of the sea pirate, Lachlan. She trusted Lachlan and thought that he might have come to care for her. Bella has believed for the last two years that Lachlan betrayed them leading to their capture. She has kept her sanity and composure these last years with the thought that one day she and her daughter Joan will reunite. Bella has been fighting her way back to her daughter ever since she made the decision to help Robert the Bruce in his campaign to be the King of Scotland. The MacDuff family holds the hereditary right to enthrone Scotland's kings. When Bella made the decision to crown Bruce as King in the years before her capture, she knew that she was risking everything to do what she felt was right. She believes that Bruce was Scotland's best chance to help gain freedom from English rule.

From the moment Lachlan first laid eyes on Bella he experiences emotions that he tries to explain away as lust. Bella was married so neither acted on the undeniable pull between them. It’s been driving him crazy to know that Bella has been kept prisoner in such a horrific way. He and his fellow Highland Guards attempted a rescue mission previously without success but now he knows this time he'll do whatever to set her free.

Second time is the charm and Lachlan successfully rescues Bella. The pull between them is still strong and this time there is no husband to come between them. However, Bella has reservations and doesn't trust Lachlan, but she knows he is her best hope in helping her reunite with her daughter. Still, Lachlan is fighting the attraction and trying to maintain distance between them. But neither can fight what has been simmering for years. Will the bad boy of the Highland Guard and the heroine of Scotland risk it all for love?

My Thoughts:
It's safe to say that the majority of Monica McCarty's fans have been anticipating Lachlan MacRuairi's story since The Chief. Lachlan's character literally jumped off the pages since book one with his villainous persona and ‘I don't give a shit about anyone else’ swagger. He was a mystery, and I for one wanted to find out what the heck makes this man tick. I was nervous about reading this book since I had built it up so much in my head. I was afraid that I would be left wanting but have no FEAR folks...Monica stepped right up and freaking knocked a home run for me. This book delivered and delivered and blew past my expectations.

Lachlan is not liked much but is respected for his skills within the Highland Guard group. His ‘I don’t give a shit attitude’ tends to rub people the wrong way. Readers finally learn the secrets of this man and oh what a heartbreaking past he has. Monica stayed true to the character of Lachlan in this story. Lachlan doesn’t apologize for who he is. You can either take him or leave him. But, the man that readers have been lead to believe has no morals or worries for others is so much more of a kind hearted man than I ever expected. I loved watching Lachlan fight the connection between Bella and himself. Bella’s stubbornness, pride and fighting spirit drives him crazy but these were also the reasons that made Lachlan want her more. I laughed every time Lachlan found himself worrying about her when he’s doesn’t give a fig about anyone else or when he realizes with just a touch of her hand on his arm can suddenly calm him and keep him from being an ass (or arse as like Lachlan likes to say..lol). I couldn’t help falling in love with this sexy gruff and brooding kilted man right along with Bella.

And wow what an amazing heroine Bella is. I knew that it would take a very special lady to worm her way into Lachlan’s heart. Boy did Monica give us a heroine for the ages. Bella is based off of a true Scotland heroine. Her fate in real life is vague. The real Bella was captured and imprisoned but no other accounts in history were recorded for her after the English moved her from the cage. So this is a great retelling of history and a much more fitting ending for Bella that Monica created in The Viper. Bella is a fierce lady. She defies England and her marriage to do what she feels is right. It takes some big balls to do that and survive all that she had to in this book. I related to her character very much when it came to the storyline surrounding her daughter. My heart broke for her and then it cheered for her.

And OMG do these two sizzle either in verbal battle against one another or in the loving. There were many poignant and beautiful moments between them. I loved watching them slowly open their hearts to each other and fall in love. It was also wonderful to be back in Scotland in the thick of things with these Highland Guards. I enjoyed getting to know some of the Guards that do not have a book yet. Gordon is one that I am definitely interested in. His character and interaction with Lachlan provided some of the lighter moments in this book. I love how the Guards like to needle and pick on each other. It was great seeing how far they have come and how effortlessly it has become for these men who are not clansman to work so wonderfully together. The epilogue that Monica added was a wonderful surprise and I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing more of Joan and a certain Guard. :)

From the first chapter and until the very last pages including the author’s note, I was hooked. I read it in one night and the no sleep look the next day was well worth it. Monica continues to amaze me with her storytelling enriched with real life historical figures and events and blends them seamlessly with the fictional romance all in her head. I highly recommend this book and this series for fans of highlander stories. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Rating: 5 PAGES TURNED

Other books in this series:
  • The Chief - available currently
  • The Hawk - available currently
  • The Ranger - available currently
  • The Saint - coming March 2012
Just saw this book trailer for The Viper on Monica's Facebook page.  Talk about hot!  Check it out.



 
*********************

Thank you all for joining me in this 3 Day Event. I hope you've enjoyed and have discovered a new to you author!  So for today's giveaway see rules and details below.

RULES AND DETAILS (PLEASE READ THE RULES BEFORE YOU ENTER)

If you leave a comment under this post ONE reader of the blog will be entered for a chance at winning ALL of Monica's book. That's 10 books total.  The more you comment the more your chances of winning will increase for TODAY. Each comment you leave will count as 1 entry.

Spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or your blog and your chances will increase more. Spread the word about the event on either Twitter, Facebook or your blog and your chances increase more. Each advertisement is one more entry. So you could earn a total of 3 entry points towards the whole 3 day event. You only have to spread the word once. Since this is a 3 day event you don't have to do a Twit, Facebook or blog post for each day. Be sure to come back and leave comment under this post or the post from yesterday if you've spread the word!
  • Today's giveaway is open to US and International residents only where Book Depository ships to
  • You MUST leave a comment with your e-mail address if it's not on your profile so I can contact you if you win.
  • You MUST answer this question: After getting to know the men from this series which Guard interests you most and why?
  • Giveaway ends Oct. 23
Prize Detail

40 comments:

LadyRed said...

The two men that stand out the most to me are Tor and Lachlan although I have yet to read any of the books in this series (and I am chomping at the bit to have the opportunity to, believe me!). Tor caught my attention just simply by his position as chief and Lachlan by his devil may care attitude with the soft underbelly (wow, I guess that really does describe a "viper"). Since I am not sure if my email addy is linked with my profile (even though I am using my google account as a log in) it is green eyes red hair AT gmail dot com.

LadyRed said...

Oh and I also shared on Facebook last night ;-)

krazymama_98 said...

How could anyone pick one? Lets go with Gregor Macgregor. What a name! haha Terribly handsome. But they all are. He sounds interesting. Deep. Like his story will be surprising. The woman he winds up with will be surprising. Maybe some clutzy but intelligent type? The ones that leave havoc in their wake and have no idea. there he will be, following along. She will fall in love with him. Not how he looks or what he does. She will think it is the most natural thing in the world, like ''werent we always in love, werent you always here with me? " LOL Hmmm.....love......
lisakhutson@cox.net

kim P said...

I am taking my sweet time with this book because I dont ever want it to end!! I am a little over half way through and I LOVE LOVE it! I have been a big Monica Mccarty fan ever since I found her books! and she is without a doubt number one in my book! keep em coming Monica! I am really anticipating Gordons book as well!!

LadyRed said...

Ing,
Sorry I forgot to mention this in earlier post but you forgot the "t" on the end of heart (but also her hear) on the very last line of the blurb. Its a bad habit of mine, I notice these things automatically and I always feel its best to bring it to attention.

catscorner990 said...

Well how can you not fall in love with them, I have read the Chief which first got me started in this series, I really did fall in love with Tor he really pushed those guys into becoming what they are well known for, as for Eric in the Hawk, this book did not disappoint at all in fact I eagerly waited for the Ranger to come out and read Arthur Campbell s story now I have the Viper on order and cannot wait till I get my hands on it. I wished I could have gotten all of the Higland books I have read a couple of them but this author knows how to write a book, she has not disappointed me one bit.

Jess B. said...

After getting to know the men from this series which Guard interests you most and why? well as i havent gotten the wonderful chance yet to read the series i can only go by whats been posted here. And personally i must say that william was my fav. A little magic and science mixed in with rugged highlander personality must be an awesome combo. Can't wait to try the series.
jessbiggers@gmail.com

Xia said...

I love the book trailer. Super HOT!!!

As for the men that interest me most, they would have to be Viper and Arrow. Viper because he's so dark and mysterious. I love that in my men. And Arrow because he just sounds so interesting! What can I say. I can't wait to see the pretty boy fall head over heels in love.
xia_thao95@hotmail.com

Gail said...

I have not been able to get the series yet because my local Barnes & Noble is out.I have read the synopsis on the computer and I can't wait to start on the series.

Gail said...

I also love Monica's Facebook page.

Kathleen O said...

Oh I have to go with either Magnus"The Saint" MacKay or Lachlan "The Viper" MacRuairi...
But I really should pick Authur "The Ranger" Campbell, because after all we could be related... I am Campbell on my mothers side...

I have shared this page on my fb

superauntk_9atlive(dot)ca

cheryl c said...

I am intrigued by the one called "The Saint." Since he comes "face to face with his old love who is engaged to his fellow Guardsman Gordon", I am really wondering how he deals with that.
Of course, all of the guys sound drool-worthy, unique, and intriguing in their own ways.
castings at mindspring dot com

Amber P. said...

I think each one of them is interesting in their own way. I haven't read one that I haven't fallen in love with. My sister and I try to read the books at the same time. We always mark on our calendar when the next one is coming out. I love all of Monica's books. They are by far my favorite!

Bethie said...

This is another new author for me. I really think I would enjoy her work.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Betty Hamilton said...

I truely LOVED this book and would very much love to have an autographed copy!!

Corrie McDermott said...

I agree that I think most were waiting for this story and I wasn't certain how it was going to top The Ranger, because i LOVED Arthur and Anna, but Monica did it.

You definitely cannot help but love Bella. You know she is a strong woman to defy her husband and leave her daughter behind to crown the King of Scotland. And she certainly gives it right back to Lachlan.

You can't help but love him as well. Learning about why he acts the way he does and to see that like any of us he has his own weaknesses.

it is going to be a long hard wait until the Saint comes out. I've always like MacKay and I can't wait to read his story and see how he and Helen fair!

Corrie McDermott said...

I just saw the book trailer. I wish is was longer! What an awful tease!

Corrie McDermott said...

Ah and which of the men interested me the most of the series thus far? Definitely Arthur. I really enjoyed his heightened sense of knowing when something was going to happen. Being able to hear the wolves coming, knowing Anna was going to fall. I understand what being ostracized is about and it's not fun so I connected with him on that level. I really enjoyed his character.

intothesunstudio @ aol dot com

lindalou said...

I really can't answer today's question as I haven't read any of your books YET... I hope I can still enter your contest as I'd love to win them. Thanks for the giveaway! (Love the pictured cover...)
lindalou(at)cfl(dot)rr(dot)com

Kara said...

William Gordon because I want to see what he will do in the conflict with his fellow guard since he is hard to rile up.
klepard94(at)yahoo(dot)com

Di said...

I've only gotten a brief glimpse at the Highland Guards, but enough to know I would have great difficulty to pick just one. If I'm lucky enough to win any of these books, I'll get back to you with an informed answer.

sallans d at yahoo dot com

Di said...

I posted on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/#!/DianeSallans/status/127218570261311489

sallans d at yahoo dot com

Di said...

I shared on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=278751915489908&id=100001724276697

sallans d at yahoo dot com

June M. said...

I fell in love this series with The Chief. Tor is such a great leader, but all the other guys are leaders on their own. My favorite 3 would have to be Tor, Erik, and Lachlan. But I am looking forward to learning (and loving) them all.
June M.
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

Jane said...

Great review. Tor is my favorite, but I am intrigued by Lachlan because you never know what he's thinking.

janie1215 AT excite DOT com

Rad Hall said...

Erik; who doesn't like a charmer :)
Cheers.

emi3mle at yahoo dot com dot au

Anonymous said...

Ing
Thanks for the review, you do such a good job. The trailor was great too thanks. Glad I could help out by posting on my facebook and blog.
I left the links in earilier posts, Don't you just love Highlanders......sigh.
Zina
seawitchreviews@ yahoo.com

Stella (Ex Libris) said...

I remember I had to preorder the 1st book in Monica's latest series (The Chief) and can't believe I still haven't gotten around to read it! *bad Stella bad* But that trailer, oh my, that is smoking hot! :-D Can't wait to finally catch up on this series and The Viper sounds a book I definitely won't miss out on! :-)

Thank you for the great giveaway!

stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

Stella (Ex Libris) said...

And wow, nothing is sexier than explosive verbal banter as foreplay :-D You got me all worked up to read The Viper! :-D

stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

Chrisbails said...

This is a new author for me and always looking for new reads. These books sound great and would love to win and read.
I think I would choose all of them, but since I can't I would have to say Lachlan. I like the alpha male, in change kind of guy. He seems like he takes no s**t from anyone and that is something I like. I like that alpha, in charge, sexy, and smoking hot guy. The only thing I don't care for is that they say he killed his wife. Well I guess we will not get married. Maybe she deserved it, because she tried to kill him. We can just be FWB, sounds like fun.
Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win.
christinebails@yahoo.com

Maureen said...

After reading your review I am definitely most interested in Lachlan. I do like to see a character change and grow.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

CrystalGB said...

Great review. My favorite so far is Tor. I am intrigued by Robbie Boyd and Gregor MacGregor. Thanks for the great contests.
Crystal816[at]hotmail[dot]com

Chelsea B. said...

They all sound so interesting to me!! I can't wait to begin this fantastic-sounding series!

justforswag(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

Blodeuedd said...

I do like those who have a huge chip on their shoulder, so I would take on the viper (but I am sure I would love them all)

blodeuedd1 at gmail dot com

Dalila G. said...

I have been waiting for VIPER's book, he always made me curious as to why he is the way he is. I'll soon find out more!
SAINT sounds like he will be interesting too, is he really good or is a bit of the devil's hiding somewhere? Can't wait! Video of VIPER's book is wonderful!

BLHmistress said...

I have been wanting to read this series for a long time, like I said since you recommended it to me just haven't had a chance yet.

What a great review! It makes me want to read these even more.

vampiremistress2010(at)gmail(dot)com

Tyraa said...

Viper definitely sounds like my kinder guy. So excited to read it!

queen_tui at hotmail dot com

Carol L. said...

I love tall of their descriptions and it sure is hard to pick one because I always love the one I'm reading :) But The Chief is still one of my favorites. He's as fearsome as a Lion to be sure.But it's the Alpha Male in full splendor and then there is the loyalty, commitment and tenderness that's the core of the Highlander. Can't wait to read The Viper.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

chilosa said...

I love em all but i would say Tor since he was the first!!

Crystal ♥ said...

Jeez, you're bringing out the hard ones with these questions girly!
Let's see...
Tor, because he is the chief of the clan and that's always hot.

Lachlan, because who doesn't love a bad boy?

Gregor, because I have a thing for archers.

readingbetweenthewines10 at gmail dot com