Hidden Figures : The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden Figures : The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee ShetterlyHidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Published by William Morrow on September 6, 2016
Genres: African American, Nonfiction
Pages: 368
Source: Borrowed: ebook

Set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South and the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America’s space program—and whose contributions have been unheralded, until now.

Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as “Human Computers,” calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws, these “colored computers,” as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America’s fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Drawing on the oral histories of scores of these “computers,” personal recollections, interviews with NASA executives and engineers, archival documents, correspondence, and reporting from the era, Hidden Figures recalls America’s greatest adventure and NASA’s groundbreaking successes through the experiences of five spunky, courageous, intelligent, determined, and patriotic women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden, and Gloria Champine.

Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women’s rights movement, Hidden Figures interweaves a rich history of scientific achievement and technological innovation with the intimate stories of five women whose work forever changed the world—and whose lives show how out of one of America’s most painful histories came one of its proudest moments.

Wow. Just wow. I saw this movie two weeks ago and was blown away by it.  Reading the book just gave me even more details about the African American women who came out as human computers (I had no idea that was where the word computers came from, they computed so were seen as computers) and helped shaped the United States space program.

Shetterly has historian disease (yeah I use to suffer from this as well, historians unite!) so the flow was off a few times. And there are details sprinkled in sometimes that I honestly didn’t think were adding anything to what central point I think she was trying to get across. That said, I was blown away by the time I got to the end of this book. I am embarrassed that I had no clue about any of these women (Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan) that Shetterly follows in “Hidden Figures”.

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Shetterly does a great job in her prologue in setting up the town of Hampton, Virginia, where she grew up as a kid. Can you imagine a town full of African American scientists, teachers, doctors, mathematicians? I honestly was astonished reading about how Shetterly grew up. It sounds like paradise to me. This introduction is a great set-up to what caused Shetterly to find out more about Katherine Johnson, one of the central figures in “Hidden Figures.” From there Shetterly goes back to the U.S. during World War II where many agencies were looking for anyone that had any mathematician skills to apply.  The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) needed people and due to a lot of legislation that was being passed at the time, it was a good time for many African Americans to apply since they could be assured more money than what they would receive teaching.

Shetterly then moves between the years of NACA eventually becoming NASA, the space race with the Russians, and the African American women who were there for it all.

This book primarily focuses on Dorothy Vaughan and jumps back and forth between her being the central figure and adding in details about Katherine Johnson and Mary Jackson. I honestly would have loved to read one book for each of these women. Shetterly does a great job of showing the growing Civil Rights issues that were going on that seemed to not affect NASA personnel much. If you could do your job that is all anyone cared about. There were still little things like colored tables to eat at in the cafeteria, separate bathrooms, etc. but I loved how most of the women Shetterly mentions ignored it or just blatantly took down signs. There were also issues with some of these women having to take a step down in order to go further once they were all at the end of their promotion opportunities they could have at certain jobs. Do not get me started talking about the GS-schedule. I can be here all day.

The writing at times had me sitting up and saying amen.

“As a child, however, I knew so many African Americans working in science, math, and engineering that I thought that’s just what black folks did.

“But before a computer became an inanimate object, and before Mission Control landed in Houston; before Sputnik changed the course of history, and before the NACA became NASA; before the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka established that separate was in fact not equal, and before the poetry of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech rang out over the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Langley’s West Computers were helping America dominate aeronautics, space research, and computer technology, carving out a place for themselves as female mathematicians who were also black, black mathematicians who were also female.”

“Through its inability to solve its racial problems, the United States handed the Soviet Union one of the most effective propaganda weapons in their arsenal.
Newly independent countries around the world, eager for alliances that would support their emerging identities and set them on their path to long-term prosperity, were confronted with a version of the same question black Americans had asked during World War II. Why would a black or brown nation stake its future on America’s model of democracy when within its own borders the United States enforced discrimination and savagery against people who looked just like them?”

“She trained the girls in her Girl Scout troop to believe that they could be anything, and she went to lengths to prevent negative stereotypes of their race from shaping their internal views of themselves and other Negroes. It was difficult enough to rise above the silent reminders of Colored signs on the bathroom doors and cafeteria tables. But to be confronted with the prejudice so blatantly, there in that temple to intellectual excellence and rational thought, by something so mundane, so ridiculous, so universal as having to go to the bathroom…In the moment when the white women laughed at her, Mary had been demoted from professional mathematician to a second-class human being, reminded that she was a black girl whose piss wasn’t good enough for the white pot.”

As I said earlier, the flow was not that great. I think that Shetterly had a tough time deciding what to include and what to take out. I can see how she tried to make some of the pieces fit so you can see how each of these women were important to the space race and how they worked together. Also Shetterly includes details about how African American men in the military at the time were still treated horribly by white Americans who saw them in uniform. Reading this right before Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend definitely made me appreciate all of these men and women who went first in order to make it easier for those in my generation. We are not there yet, not by a long shot, but when I read about what went on back in the 1940s-1970s I don’t know if I could have been that brave or strong to deal with it.

The setting of Hampton, Virginia during this time sounds great. It really does sound like the nerdiest place alive and I loved it.

The Virginia Air and Space Center, the official visitors center for both Langley Air Force Base and NASA Langley Research Center.

For me, this book was deeply personal. I honestly didn’t even think I could be anything more than a wife and mother. I was raised to believe that was the best job out there. College was something that the white kids I went to school with aspired to. Just because I was one of the smartest kids in school did not figure in at all to it. My parents flat out did not have the money to send me to college. My older brother luckily got an athletic scholarship to go to college, and even he did not graduate on time due to him not watching to make sure he met all of his requirements to graduate. However, lucky for me, my parents via financial aid and scholarships that my church told my mother about made sure I got into school. And luckily for me when I was about to graduate from college, I was given the opportunity to interview for graduate school. Due to my GRE schools and undergraduate grades and other activities I managed to go to graduate school for free. Even now at the age of 36 I realize that even though I loved to read, was seen as one of the smartest kids in school, my life could have so easily went another way if I didn’t have someone stepping up along the way to make sure that I got the same opportunity that many people take for granted.

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Thank you to all three of these women and other women that the book mentions for doing the impossible.

This is definitely going to become one of my permanent books on my bookshelf at home.


Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday12/17/16: Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books I've Read In The Past Year Or So by Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish. Today's theme is Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books I've Read In The Past Year Or So (up to you if you want it to be those published in the past year or so or just ANY underrated book you've read recently).

Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books I’ve Read In The Past Year Or So (up to you if you want it to be those published in the past year or so or just ANY underrated book you’ve read recently).

So I have a lot of books that I read the past year that I thought were fantastic. I am always so sad though if everyone else doesn’t have a clue about the books that I fell in love with.

So here are my top ten underrated/hidden gems books that I read in 2016:

  1.  Strangers in Death by J.D. Robb. This is one of my favorite “In Death” books. It has a great callback to Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train and the little clues that are dropped throughout give readers a great look at how the murder was carried out.
  2. Heartless by Marissa Meyer. I know a lot of people were not feeling this one. I get it. We all love the Lunar Chronicles, but I thought this one did a great job of giving us a YA perspective of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland.
  3. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I am so happy that so many Booklikers read this short story during Halloween Book Bingo. The discussions about this book went on for a few weeks and I love it when a story can touch people in so many different ways.
  4. I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan. I loved, loved, loved this one. I realized after the fact that not a lot of my African American friends even knew that McMillan had a book come out last year. This one touched me in a variety of ways. Since I didn’t really like the sequel to “Waiting to Exhale” I was so happy that this one resonated with me.
  5. Nuts by Alice Clayton. Sometime a girl needs a hot and sexy romance. That is all.
  6.  The Bone Collector by Jeffrey Deaver. I was so happy to read the first book in the Lincoln Rhyme series. This one had everything a history nerd and amateur criminologist (via fiction books) could love.
  7. Dawn by Octavia E. Butler. I know a lot of people don’t like these books because the topic of consent gets turned upside so many times it may make you uncomfortable as you read. I still found this and the other two books in this series to be great reads.
  8. In The County We Love by Diane Guerrero. This gives such a great perspective on the children of illegal immigrants who have come to the United States to make a life. You follow Guerrero’s family’s journey and the decisions they make along the way in order to try to stay together.
  9. Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee. This book took a historical event (San Francisco earthquake and fire) and had it take place in the city’s Chinatown. I loved everything about this book and hope for a sequel due to a lot of outstanding questions I had regarding what happens to the main character.
  10. The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. I have told every friend of mine that I have about this awesome book. I loved it. Such a great read from beginning to end. The next book in this series (which apparently is not a sequel sequel) is coming out this year. I can’t wait.


Romance bingo Sunday update: Moonlight Reader

I have gotten off to a sloooooow start on the romance bingo card, knocking down only two categories so far!

1. Man in a kilt: Highlander Untamed by Monica McCarty (review here.
2. Love is murder: Death in Kenya by M.M. Kaye (review forthcoming).

Twelve Tasks of the Festive Season: Winner!

1. Nightime Reading Center (1)

2. Themis-Athena’s Garden of Books (2)

3. hahn’s (3)

4. BrokenTune (4)

5. Portable Magic (5)
And the winner is!

Portable Magic! Congratulations!

Thanks to everyone who participated and did not black out this task list as well!

Romance Book Bingo: Update! 5 Squares Completed!


Reckless by Amanda Quick (Free Space)

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews (Urban Fantasy Romance)

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West (Young Adult)

Rendezvous by Amanda Quick (Historical Romance)

Scandal by Amanda Quick (Regency Romance)

Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz

Ashley Bell by Dean KoontzAshley Bell by Dean Koontz
Series: Ashley Bell
Published by Bantam on December 8, 2015
Genres: Horror, Thriller
Pages: 770
Source: Borrowed: ebook

The girl who said no to death.

Bibi Blair is a fierce, funny, dauntless young woman—whose doctor says she has one year to live.

She replies, “We’ll see.”

Her sudden recovery astonishes medical science.

An enigmatic woman convinces Bibi that she escaped death so that she can save someone else. Someone named Ashley Bell.

But save her from what, from whom? And who is Ashley Bell? Where is she?

Bibi’s obsession with finding Ashley sends her on the run from threats both mystical and worldly, including a rich and charismatic cult leader with terrifying ambitions.

Here is an eloquent, riveting, brilliantly paced story with an exhilarating heroine and a twisting, ingenious plot filled with staggering surprises. Ashley Bell is a new milestone in literary suspense from the long-acclaimed master.

Oh man. This is going to be a doozy. I am still mad and I finished this up last night. I mean I woke up at one point last night and maybe screeched yelled at the final reveal to this book. I have loved older Koontz books, but his most recent stuff besides the Odd Thomas books hasn’t really resonated with me. The only book I recall that I even “liked” was “The City” and even that got on my nerves at times.

I think this book highlights many of the ways that his recent works have not worked for me anymore. There’s a dog in this one (a golden retriever…of course), there’s an exceptional woman that appears to know everything about everything. She has a man that loves her and of course he is an expert at weaponry (he’s a Navy SEAL) though usually in this latest works the woman is also great at weaponry. Koontz gets too lyrical at times instead of just telling the story. He took the unreliable narrator story and cranked it to 100. There is also not much horror in this one really. I miss old school Koontz who actually had horror novels like “Watchers,” “Phantoms,” and “The Bad Place.” This was a not that great thriller/mystery with a let down of an ending.

There are multiple POVs in this one, so just prepare yourself. The main character we follow through most of Ashley Bell though is Bibi Blair. Bibi is an up and coming writer who lives in California. She is happy in her life, engaged to her fiancee Paxton who is off in Afghanistan on a black out mission (I hope you like reading about that by the way) she is waiting until he comes home and they can go off and start their life together. However, Bibi wakes up one day and feels awful. Her hands and legs go numb and she has a nasty taste in her mouth. Willing herself not to panic, she calls her mother who takes her to the hospital and there is eventually delivered life changing news. Apparently Bibi has a cancer so insidious that it will kill her within a year and there’s no cure. Bib refuses to allow herself to believe in her doctor’s words and says she will beat the cancer. And miraculously she does, however, her recovery leads her down a dark path to some people who have drawn her into a deadly game of trying to protect a young teenage girl named Ashley Bell.

Without getting too spoilery about things, Koontz draws things out way too long. Once part of the plot was revealed to me I was so irritated I didn’t know what to do. Koontz also doesn’t go back and explain some things that would have been better served after the fact I thought. We get facts about people in the story after the fact that Koontz doesn’t set up initially. There was a lot of back and forth about how Paxton doesn’t really deserve Bibi (because she is the best thing that has ever walked the Earth) but they all hope he can try to be good enough for her. That Bibi apparently could be a huge best selling author, but chooses not to be, cause reasons. I don’t know. Don’t look at me for explanation of this stuff.

Most of the characters were not very well thought out at all I thought. The book splits up the action between Bibi and her fiancee Paxton. I have never in my life cared so little about a character in my life. He was dull (hey I read romance books, at least talk about his hot body/abs or something) and reading about his missions, how much he cared about his friends, etc. got old real quick. I thought Koontz was channeling Lee Child for a bit there with a Reacher type character and just started skimming when he showed up in the story.

Bibi’s parents were barely in this story which was just odd. I wanted more information about them. We start off with there POVs, and then they fade out of the story, only to appear again. Also they are both surfers so be happy reading as they talk “surfer” and people keep saying things like “she’s walking the board.”

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There was so much hippie type speech/dialogue that I wanted to find a puppy and yell in it’s face to tell it that it’s not cute to get all of the frustration out of my system.

There’s another character named Pogo (and no I refuse to get into him much) and he was dismissed earlier in the book, but the reveal about how close he was to Bibi and her family didn’t work based on what came before.

We find out about another character named Captain and I said bah to the whole story-line (which drove the plot) from beginning to end. Nothing made sense at all. I had a hard time imagining a scenario where he would be able to do what he did.

The bad people (I am just going to collectively call them that) didn’t really work at all. They were way too Scooby-Doo villain for me.

Some of the writing was just awful. A couple of times i just cringed at the try hard.

“Between two of the joists, backlit by a bare dust-coated bulb in a white ceramic socket, a fat spider danced from string to string, plucking from its silken harp a music beyond human hearing.”

“The vintage dinette chairs featured chrome-plated steel legs and seats upholstered in black vinyl. Very 1950s. She liked the ’50s. The world hadn’t gone crazy yet.”

“But there’s no room at all for free spirits in modern academia, with its speech codes and humorless moralizing. So she makes two lives for herself, or three for all we know, or four, and in the end there’s no satisfaction in being multiple Solange St. Croixs instead of one.”

Can we please stop with the 1950s being the best of times in America? I am so freaking over it. You can like the clothes, the writing, the American dream and all of that, and you still must acknowledge it was terrible for a good portion of us out there who were not white.

The flow was bad in this one. I think each chapter was about 5-6 pages long. And after a certain point, we follow Bibi on her adventures, and Paxton on his. It was too much to focus on while reading. And since things were being revealed more in Paxton’s story, I found myself irritated going back to Bibi’s and realizing that she was behind so to speak what was being revealed to readers and other characters in this story.

The ending was a hot joke. I seriously thought the bad guy and the thing that went bump in the night was just a bad joke come to life. I don’t think I ever read a Koontz book that thunked the landing so hard since Saint Odd.

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There are other books in this series, apparently two novellas. But I am going to pass on them and go about my day.  I just don’t want to revisit these characters anytime soon. I did read the reviews though, and the novellas were better received than this novel based on what I can tell. I have said for years that Koontz’s short stories are pretty great, look at “Strange Highways” if you want to see some of them. I also loved the novella for “The City” it gave me hope old school Koontz was back.


P.S. I Like You by Kaise West

P.S. I Like You by Kaise WestP.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Published by Point on July 26th 2016
Genres: YA
Pages: 304
Source: Borrowed: ebook

Signed, sealed, delivered . . .

While zoning out in Chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk, and added a message to her.

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters— sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery, and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out . . .

Kasie West brings irresistible wit, warmth, and sparkle to this swoon-worthy story of love showing up when you least expect it

So all in all I really liked this book. It was cute, and was a great little homage to You’ve Got Mail, which was a great homage to The Shop Around the Corner. I read this for Romance Bingo 2017 and this fits my Young Adult square.

Told in the first person, we have Lily, a teenage girl who has a chaotic (but loving) home life, and only has one best friend. Lily plays guitar and tries her hand at writing lyrics, but mostly she keeps to herself while clashing with her best friend’s ex-boyfriend who treated her badly.  After writing song lyrics on her Chemistry desk, she comes back the next day to see that someone has written the next line on the desk, and from there she starts exchanging notes with an unknown boy at her school who she finds gets her, and she really gets.

I liked Lily cause God knows I grew up in a family where I could not get five minutes of myself alone. She’s a loner, but has her best friend who she loves and who is always there to cheerlead her on.  Lily is a hipster I would say, but an unaware one based on what everyone else says to her. She loves music, indie rock mostly it appears. And she has a guitar and is trying her hand at writing lyrics. When a song writing contest opens up to Lily, she finds herself blocked for a bit until she and her mysterious  pen pal start trading back notes to each other. Based on the things he tells her, Lily finds herself writing about the things he makes her feel, but also about his loneliness.

What I thought was smart was that West allows us as readers to see the back and forth between Lily and her mysterious pen pal. You can see why she’s falling for this guy (whoever he is) and you see how vulnerable both of them are being while revealing things about themselves. I did laugh at bit here and there though, cause I cannot imagine a teen boy (even if he was anonymous) discussing some of the personal stuff that Lily and him discussed.

I do have to say that some of the secondary characters could have been built up a bit. Lily’s best friend (I ashamed I forget her name) was not really there except to be her wise friend and be totally understanding at all times. It pretty much comes out repeatedly that Lily’s friend broke up with her ex because he and Lily could not get along. Then there is a complete re-write to the whole thing and just made me roll my eyes.

The mean girl was so one dimensional and “evil” it just made me shake my head. Has high school gotten worse? I can’t imagine people like this at all. We had some bullies at school when I was growing up, but thank God the teachers/principal didn’t put up with it and made sure those people were suspended and dealt with. Heck two boys I went to school with were flat out expelled for what they were doing to people in class.

The pen pal didn’t take long for me to figure out at all. You watch “You’ve Got Mail” and you can pretty much figure out who it is. What I did like is watching Lily having to cope with finding out who the guy is that she fell in love with via notes.

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All the feels. I love Tom Hanks. That is all.

I liked the writing. Lily’s family scenes were freaking hilarious at times. The pacing moved okay too, though the end felt rushed as anything. There is a big incident at school and then it felt like it got resolved ten seconds later.

The ending didn’t stick the landing though. I would have liked to see what happened with Lily and the song writing contest she entered. Having an epilogue that said six months later would have worked wonders.


Twelve Tasks of the Festive Season: Winner to be Announced Soon!

Sorry all that it has taken us this long to put this post together. But due to slowness issues and just general issues with uploading pictures/gifs/etc. we couldn’t put this post together until now.

Thanks all who participated in this here at Booklikes! I had a lot of fun with this one, and definitely needed something to distract me the past couple of weeks. I am sorry we didn’t have a chance to discuss as much as I would have liked. But hopefully with those participating in Romance Book Bingo 2017, we can get the discussions up and running again.

1. Nightime Reading Center (1)

2. Themis-Athena’s Garden of Books (2)

3. hahn’s (3)

4. BrokenTune (4)

5. Portable Magic (5)

These are the only people who I saw in our discussion group that blacked out the twelve tasks. If I am missing your completed card, please post to the discussion thread or the comments below.
We will announce the winner at 3 p.m. EST.


Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday1/10/17: Top Ten 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn't Get To (But TOTALLY plan to read) by Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish. Today's theme is the Top Ten 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn't Get To (But TOTALLY plan to)!

Top Ten 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To (But TOTALLY plan to)

Obsidian Blue:

Hmmm. There were a lot of 2016 books that I meant to read, and then I tend to get distracted by shiny book covers and forget all about them.

Here are my top 5 releases that I meant to read in 2016, but will read this year:

  1. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. I heard nothing but good things, but the main reason why I didn’t read this was that I didn’t want to shell out money to read a book by an author I have not read before. I always try to just get the book via the library first. Due to the popularity of the book, I have been on the hold list for a while (three months and counting).
  2. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  I read a sample, was interested in the book, bought the book at the National Book Festival, and it still sits on my bookshelf unread. I will get to it eventually, I just keep finding other books to read first.
  3. All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda. I have this book on hold (since November 2016) so am hoping that I get it soon so I can finally start this. It looks very interesting and I do love mystery novels.
  4. Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda. It’s Hamilton. Enough said.
  5. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. I finally finally got this book via the library a week ago. I am so excited that I am going to start this book this week. I saw the movie on Saturday and was blown away by how good it was. My boss and his wife saw it too and he was enthusing all over the place this morning. As someone who still sees math as a foreign language, for the first time ever I saw how wonderful it is for those that speak math. The impossible becomes possible.

Highlander Untamed by Monica McCarty

Highlander Untamed by Monica McCartyHighlander Untamed (MacLeods of Skye Trilogy, #1) by Monica McCarty
Published by Ballantine on July 31st 2007
Genres: Romance
Pages: 382
Source: Purchased: ebook

Rory MacLeod is a bold and powerful Highland Chief with only one allegiance–to his clan. He vows revenge against the rival MacDonald clan, though duty demands a handfast marriage to Isabel MacDonald–a bride he does not want and has no intention of keeping. But Rory couldn’t have anticipated the captivating woman who challenges his steely control, and unleashes the untamed passion simmering beneath his fierce exterior.

Blessed with incomparable beauty, Isabel MacDonald is prepared to use every means possible–including seduction–to uncover her husband’s most guarded secrets. Instead Rory awakens Isabel’s deepest desires and her sweetest fantasies. Now Isabel has found the happiness she’s always dreamed of with the very man she must betray, and discovers that passion can be far more dangerous than revenge.

I read this one for the “Man in a Kilt” bingo square. I may have read it before – I honestly couldn’t say because I binged on Monica McCarty books a couple of years ago and they are all very formulaic, so I can’t necessarily identify it by the story.

It is enjoyable enough, such as it is. It is a fairly steamy – I’d say about a 7 on the steam scale (out of 10). There are graphic but not clinical descriptions of the sexual encounters between H & h. One of the problems with romance – for me at least – is that there are a limited number of ways to describe sex, so I get bored with sex scenes. McCarty’s are not worthy of eyerolling, but they are boring and repetitive. I skim.

The formula for a McCarty Highlander goes something like this: Hero and heroine are thrown together. There is some sort of obstacle that keeps them separated – warring clans, arranged marriage that one or both of them is angry about, kidnapping, whatever. They are incredibly attracted to one another because the heroine is so beautiful that the Hero gets an erection if she comes within four feet of him. This seems both unlikely and uncomfortable, but hey, I’m not responsible for this bit of silliness. They spat with one another and finally succumb to the mutual attraction. No matter where they are or what is going on – fleeing from enemies who want to kill you? Just released from having been captured with terrible injuries? These things do not stand in the way of the virginal heroine enjoying multiple orgasms the first time she has sex.* The obstacles are dealt with, H & h marry, H has been utterly conquered by love, and a bairn soon follows.

Anyway, Highlander Untamed is fine. It is plenty enjoyable if you keep your expectations moderate. There really isn’t much else for me to say about it.

*Yes, this is both unbelievable and preposterous. If you are looking for realistic treatment of relationships, I have other suggestions for you!

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