Review: Highland Wolf by Lynsay Sands

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was given a copy of this novel for the purposes of a review and have been holding it all in for quite a while now. Highland Wolf is officially released on January 25, 2022 (tomorrow for me), so I am going to exhale and give you the nitty gritty because I am a longtime fan of Lynsay Sands and I know she has an incredibly vast fanbase waiting on this novel.

Highland Wolf is the tenth novel in the Highland Brides series. If you haven’t checked out books 1-9, you can (and absolutely should) do so.

I will not give you a rundown of every event within this novel because nobody likes spoilers and I am not that gal. So, to wet yer whistle, here is the synopsis from

New York Times Bestselling Author Lynsay Sands delivers another sexy historical romance set in the wilds of the Highlands

In all her daydreams about her wedding day, Lady Claray MacFarlane never once imagined being dragged to the altar by her greedy uncle and forced to marry a man she didn’t know. But that’s what happened, or would have, had a Highland warrior not snatched her up at the last minute and ridden off with her in his arms. . .

They call him the Wolf. The mercenary’s courage and prowess in battle are known throughout the Highlands, and with his handsome face and black-as-sin hair, he is as intelligent and deadly as the wolf he was named for…

The beginning of the story sees Claray MacFarlane being forced into a marriage by a horrible uncle. Long story short, things don’t go to plan (do they ever?) and she instead finds herself in what I call a grand pickle. The story continues to throw twists and turns. The hero is predictable, but likable. The heroin isn’t someone I can honestly say I’d want to hang out with of an evening, but she’s well written and for some reason matches well with the Wolf. The story is entertaining, if somewhat exhausting at times. To be quite honest, there were times I wanted to yell at our young Lady MacFarlane and toss my Kindle into the abyss. I am happy to report my Kindle is still among the living and the lady has acquired a strapping, broody Wolf. I am also happy to report that I have managed to conquer my own frustrations at the story by way of a pleasant ending.

Now, the important question. Is this novel worth buying and reading? Yes. Absolutely. If a story doesn’t require you to feel something, even exhaustion or frustration in the characters and their folly, then the story is probably trash. This one is decidedly not trash. Quite the opposite. During my reading time, there were so many times when I mouthed a very snarky, What on this Earth is wrong with you, toward Claray. Many times. Like I said, we would not be friends. She isn’t really my type of leading lady, but her personality was certainly well written and we’ve made our peace already.

For more information about Lysay Sands, she keeps an updated website you can visit.

For more information about me, stick around. I’m sure I’ll eventually say something halfway entertaining or interesting in the next few weeks. Maybe. 😀

Mom, You Should Write A Book Again.

I grew up moving a lot. It wasn’t fun, but it was the way things were. I spent a lot of time in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and the surrounding area. I lived in a few trailer parks (which was an experience I will one day write a Southern comedy about, but not today). The experiences gained by moving around a lot combined with staying in that particular area for a big chunk of my childhood gave me a quirk that I still struggle with today.

People watching: NOUN. The action or practice of spending time idly observing people in a public place.

People watching. Apparently, lots of writers do this. But, so does a certain Joe Goldberg we all know and, uh. Nevermind.

My point is, people watching became a favorite pastime and I learned a lot about other humans this way. There was a bar/laundromat (not kidding) where my family frequented that I used as a launch pad for my people watching habits and duties because lots of folks came through there. Some wanted to wash their clothes and others just wanted a beer. Either way, I was there, tucked away, just watching and observing everything because there was just about nothing else for a kid my age to do there. One summer, a bar tender gave me spelling tests while I sat at the bar and my parents did laundry because he was a good guy. And may have had a thing for my then young mom. But, I often tell people I really did learn how to spell whilst sitting in a bar. That bartender taught me some tricks and helped me learn how to test myself, a skill I carried well into high school and beyond. I’m grateful for that place.

People watching is the very pastime I utilized to the full extent when I wanted to write a vampire novel based in North Carolina in an area I was familiar with. A few years ago, I nearly completed that very novel, though for some reason I never wrote an ending. I called it Vampires Of Fourth Street and I just let it sit since about 2015. That is, until a few days ago when my young teenage son found me at my laptop and said, “Mom, you should write a book again.”

He never takes an interest in my writing. Never. Ever. So, it sort of caught me off guard. It was a welcomed change, though, and I thought about it a good three minutes before I suddenly remembered that somewhere in my files was a novel just waiting to be edited, revised, and finished. I printed the first ten chapters (out of a whopping twenty-nine) and am still looking through them, but I have to admit I have seriously missed those characters. I really did a lot of work to create them and because they live in a place I could have passed a million times on the elementary school bus, I feel like I just know them.

I’m sharing this with you, my readership, because I want to hold myself accountable. I want to finish this novel, get it polished, and begin sending it out (send snacks and bourbon). I dislike the process of submission. And, dislike is an understatement. I don’t know many writers who actually look forward to the multitude of rejections and months of anxiety, but I don’t know every writer, either. So, I’m sure somebody out there likes it. Just, ya know, not me. Also, it gives me pause knowing that there aren’t a lot of publishers out there looking for vampire novels anymore.

Wish me luck, folks. The vampires have taken me hostage.

No. Not THESE vampires. I just left this here to give you something fun to look at. 😀

Five Reasonable Goals For 2022

**Disclaimer**– If you purchase an item from any of my links, I might get a small commission from it.

I am not really one for making resolutions, but I have set a few goals for myself this year. I put quite a bit of thought into it, too, which was a complete surprise for this notable pantser.

Number 1– I plan on buying books by authors I know or are acquaintances of instead of buying books written by authors who already have larger audiences. I first thought maybe I should buy from friends and acquaintances exclusively, but I think maybe that would be a little bit unfair (to myself) because I really want to read books I know are coming this year from authors I’ve been reading for years, some even decades. That being said, there are so many fantastic authors out there who are writing without the benefit of a big publicist and a well-known name. Independent authors and publishers are many, but quality is certainly there.

Amazfit, available from Amazon $39.99 right now.

Number 2– I guess…if I have to…I’m going to walk more. I used to walk a lot and I live in an area that is very nice for hikes and walks so I really don’t have any excuses, other than weather. Right now, there is a lot of low temps, snow, and other obstacles, but it’s almost February. February in West Virginia has a weather range that goes from blizzard to spring sunshine within the same week. My health is important to me, so I’ve already bought a new pair of walking shoes. I feel like I should note also that walking is not only good for your physical health, but also mental health. There are numerous studies and articles available with a quick google search and you can have a lot of fun with it. You can even get fancy and buy a fitness watch, like the Amazfit from Amazon, which has some really promising reviews. If you have one, I’d like your opinion!

Number 3– I’m going to drink more water. I already drink a good amount, but I could definitely replace a few non-water drinks with water. Again, my health is important to me and I have some weight to lose, I have dry skin, and I think drinking water would help with both of those things. I’ve already bought a goal marked water bottle to help with this. Sometimes all I need to motivate me is for my water to be readily available because I’m a creature of both habit and convenience. I’ll grab the easiest thing in order to quench my thirst and keep my day moving. I know for some folks motivation means different things, though, so I’d love to hear how other people motivate themselves to get that water down.

Number 4– I’m going to work on my budget. I know. BORING, right? Nobody wants to hear me ramble about money and numbers, but financial health is also important to me because I’m thirty-eight and I have an adult child and two teens at home and sometimes I need extra cash for things. Teenagers are well known for needing extra cash. They grow out of their clothes at a rate that could rival the toddler years (particularly boys) and they always have something or other happening at school that may require extra funds. Also, the idea that my husband and I have a handful of years before we are empty nesters has motivated me with a bit of a panic. So, I’ve taken steps to save a few extra dollars here and there and develop a healthier relationship with my shopping habits (lol). We shall see how this goes!

Number 5– I plan on going to the beach at some point this year, which may contradict Number 4. Vacations cost money, but there are ways to save and still have a great time. Besides that, in twenty years of marriage, my husband and I have yet to have a really good week long vacation together. We’re more weekend getaway people…Until now.

So, in case you see posts regarding any of these five things and wonder why I’m posting things that aren’t book reviews this coming year, it’s because this is my guide for 2022. I’ll be writing about all five of these things, as well as my reviews. Obviously I’ll be heavier on the book related content, as usual, but there will be other things coming too. I may even review some finance related books. Who knows! I’m still working on a schedule for the next few months because the holidays (between the end of November and now) really wore me down.

As usual, if you have any book suggestions for me or even product suggestions related to my five goals, I’d love to hear it in comments or emails! 😀