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Books Read in 2016: IN BED WITH A HIGHLANDER by Maya Banks

Monday, January 18, 2016

Books Read in 2016

In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #1)In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks
My rating:
~2.5 stars average
First 30-40% of the book: 4 stars
Remainder of the book: 2 stars

Book Summary
(from Goodreads):
Ewan McCabe is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his—until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan’s clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.

The illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn—and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband makes her crave his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin’s strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons—and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land.

I tried an experiment and went through all of the Goodreads recommendations based on my “shelves” containing the genres I read most often, picking out several books from new-to-me authors with an average of 4 stars or higher with more than 200 ratings.

However, didn’t didn’t work well in this situation. At least, not once the hero and heroine come together in this story.

The beginning of this book started off great. There was real peril to the heroine. The heroine was written as a competent and intelligent, if somewhat sheltered, person. She stoically withstood terrible physical abuse and held herself together mentally and emotionally. She put herself in harm’s way to protect others.

The hero, when first introduced, did seem to have a little bit of a 1980s alpha-hole scent about him, but he also seemed to have a compassionate side as well.

Unfortunately, these two characters brought out the worst in each other, turning them into a caveman and a thinking-impaired shrew. At around the 25-30% mark, a few things started happening that took me back to the Julie Garwood, Catherine Coulter, and Jude Deveraux Highlander romances I read as a teenager in the 1980s. The heroine is in peril, so of course the first thing she thinks of doing is running away on her own with no destination in mind (nor extra clothes or food!). But then when she’s near the loch, she hears male voices and of course comes upon the hero taking a swim in the freezing water buck naked and just can’t draw her eyes away—in fact, instead of realizing that the hero is currently not paying attention to her and is distracted by what he’s doing, she just stupidly stands there thinking about “that part of him between his legs” and how she shouldn’t be looking at it until he comes up and speaks to her.

She also has a tendency to say things she’s thinking aloud—but it’s written as narrative, so it’s jarring as a reader because I never knew what she was just thinking and what she was actually saying (apparently, it’s only the really embarrassing or stupid thoughts that she actually says aloud).

After the hero demands (a) that she trust him and then, once he learns her true identity, (b) that she marries him after just meeting two days before, she loses all ability to be a rational human being. She becomes one of the Too Stupid to Live (TSTL) heroines of romance-novels-of-yore who can’t even realize when she’s putting herself and others in danger of physical injury by barging through a yard full of soldiers training so that she can embarrass herself by shrewishly yelling at the hero for something he didn’t do—and of course, by doing this announces to everyone in the keep that the hero wants her to marry him, in the most embarrassing way possible.

I was pretty much finished with the book around the 40% mark—the point at which Banks started throwing every hackneyed Highlander romance cliche in that she could possibly think of. And not only that, but Ewan, the “hero,” completely loses any hint of compassion that we saw in the beginning and becomes a demanding, misogynistic jerk toward the heroine, while she just becomes stupider and stupider.

So disappointing.

My rating matrix:
5 STARS = one of the best I’ve ever read
4 STARS = a great read, highly recommended
3 STARS = it was okay
2 STARS = I didn’t enjoy it all that much, not recommended
1 STAR = DNF (did not finish)

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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