Review: Highland Awakening – Jennifer Haymore

Posted 2 March, 2016 by Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews in Reviews / 14 Comments

*I received a free copy of Highland Awakening from Loveswept via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *


Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: Highland Awakening – Jennifer HaymoreHighland Awakening by Jennifer Haymore
Series: Highland Knights #2
Published by Loveswept on 29 March 2016
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Mystery
Pages: 248
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Reading Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge, 2016 Winter COYER
One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

As the secret author of racy romances, Lady Esme Hawkins goes to great lengths to protect her family’s honor. Which is why she carefully disguises herself before entering a notorious bordello to do research. But when Esme comes face-to-face with a brooding Highland bodyguard, she can’t easily refuse a harmless kiss . . . a kiss that inflames desires ripped from the pages of her novels. Acting on them, however, would risk revealing Esme’s identity—and the fact that she’s engaged to another man.

As a Highland Knight sworn to protect the crown, Camden McLeod never expected to follow his client into a bordello—nor could he anticipate meeting a bright, innocent lass with lush lips and eyes the color of the sea. Instantly, Cam knows he must possess her. But to do so, he’ll need to give up his rakish ways, embrace his role as heir to his despised father, and snuff out a deadly threat to his brothers in arms. By comparison, winning Esme away from her insipid fiancé will be pure pleasure.

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I loved the beginning of Highland Awakening, but after a while, it became almost too steamy for a historical romance, and that’s really something I never thought I’d say!

Review - (un)Conventional Bookviews

Esme and Cam both intrigued me from the start of Highland Awakening, their first meeting happened in a whorehouse, where Cam was guarding a lord, and Esme was suddenly left alone with him in an antechamber… At first, I had no idea what Esme was doing there, and neither did Cam, but their chemistry flared from that first meeting, and hot kisses ensued. Their next meeting was at a dinner party at Esme’s brother’s – the Duke of Trent – house, and that was when Cam was well and truly hooked. Even the fact that Esme was engaged to another man could cool his attraction to her. Added to this intrigue was the fact that Esme writes erotic stories, even if she’s an innocent herself! And I was well and truly hooked.

There is also a well done mystery in Highland Awakening, because the Highland Knights are under attack! One of them was killed, and another was ambushed and almost killed, all the while they were trying to guard their charge, and Cam was trying to woo Esme. However, the middle part fell a bit flat to me anyway, because Cam was extremely high-handed. He admired Esme and her unconventional pass time of writing erotic stories, but at the same time, he wanted to keep her to himself, and he was ready to deceive and let her think he betrayed her confidence to get what he wanted.

I usually love hot, steamy historical romances, but there was almost a bit much in Highland Awakening. This is not something I say often, but it actually took something away from the story rather than adding to it. I loved how Esme was so open in her sexuality, but at the same time, both she and Cam were also pretty reckless. Overall, I still enjoyed the story, though, and I will definitely read more about these highland knights, and also possibly get glimpses of the characters I met when reading the House of Trent series.

Written in third person point of view, past tense and mostly from Esme’s perspective, the pace is nice, speeding up when the action requires it, and slowing in other places. There is quite a bit of verbal sparring between Esme and Cam as well, and of course, a female heroine in a historical who actually writes naughty stories just had to be a character I enjoyed.

Fave Quotes - (un)Conventional Bookviews

Without releasing the woman, Cam looked down at her for the first time. From beneath her hood, she peeked up at him with wide brown eyes that sparkled with amber flecks. Golden candlelight splashed over smooth olive skin colored faintly across the cheekbones with a blush. 

He curved his lips, knowing his smile was a feral, hungry one. But he didn’t care. “Do you think I’ll be kissing you now, Esme?”  She didn’t break her gaze away from his. “I… I don’t know.”

Her stories! Gasping, she jerked back, wrenching herself from the lock of his arm. His hands fell form her breast. His lips parted form hers. Oh God.

Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews
Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

About Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

Lexxie is a grad student in English Language and Literature, an avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker and a genre omnivore. Ever since she learnt how to read she has been seen with a book or two in her hands everywhere she goes.

14 responses to “Review: Highland Awakening – Jennifer Haymore

  1. I’ve only read a few highlander romances, but I’ve loved them! I’m intrigued by the characters and I like that the MC is so sexually open and writes erotic stories. But I understand what you mean by too much steamy scenes taking away from a book. There definitely needs to be a nice balance between the physical and the emotional.
    I might check this out if I manage to find a copy at the library.
    Lovely review, Lexxie!

    • Highlander romances are amazing! And it was definitely refreshing to have an innocent female character who was curious enough about sex to write erotic stories, Nick. And I absolutely love steam, but I need the characters and the story to be solid, too. I hope you’ll be able to find a copy of this one.

  2. We’re historical romance review buddies today! 😉 I like the sound of Highland Awakening, Lexxie. You know I love an unconventional heroine. 😉 And I’m curious as to how Esme and Cam get around her engagement. Reckless behavior, indeed. It is interesting that you felt there was almost too much steam. I don’t like it when there are gratuitous steamy scenes so I bet I would feel the same way. I think I have something from Haymore on my ereader…I’ll have to see which one. And I’ll be sure to check her out. 🙂
    Happy Wednesday, my friend! **BIG HUGS**

    • It’s a great story, and I really enjoyed Esme and Cam. I’m not sure the steamy scenes were gratuitous, but at the same time, they didn’t all bring something more to the story either. You should check out Haymore, I will definitely read more of her books. *BIG HUGS*

  3. When it comes to histrom, I prefer the drawn out slow building tension filled type of romance. I like the trope wheRe one’s virginith mattered an the hero slowly awakens that side of the heroine. I wouldn’t like that in contemporary romance but I love it in histrom.

    The section on the action sounds awesome! I love it when a character dies because it’s realistic…. And morbid. Hahaha!

    • I think that may be it, Braine, in HR I expect things to go a little bit slower, because that’s more natural when in those times. Esme was really curious about everything to do with physical love before she met Cam, though, so it was not too strange that she would like to experience that when she had the chance to 😀 But at the same time, I think I’d have enjoyed their story eve more if there was less steam.
      And yeah, it is realistic when a character dies, the mystery surrounding that was very well done.

  4. Hmmm. I love her books but I have read some that are like that as well with just a little too much focus on the sexy bits. I liked the erotic historical I read of hers though. I may still give this a go and hope it fits me a little better. Thanks for the info on it!

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