Monday, February 3, 2014

Book Review: TO LOVE A HIGHLAND DRAGON (in your pants) by Ann Gimpel

To Love a Highland Dragon
Dragon Lore, Book 1
By Ann Gimpel
Publisher: Taliesin
Release Date: 9/5/13
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Romance
71,000 words
A modern day psychiatrist and a dragon shifter stranded in time can’t escape their destiny, no matter how unlikely it seems.
In a cave deep beneath Inverness, a dragon shifter stirs and wakens. The cave is the same and his hoard intact, yet Lachlan senses something amiss. Taking his human form, he ventures above ground with ancient memories flooding him. But nothing is the same. His castle has been replaced by ungainly row houses. Men aren’t wearing plaids and women scarcely wear anything at all.
In Inverness for a year on a psychiatry fellowship, Dr. Maggie Hibbins watches an oddly dressed man pick his way out of a heather and gorse thicket. Even though it runs counter to her better judgment, she teases him about his strange attire. He looks so lost—and so unbelievably handsome —she takes him to a pub for a meal, to a barbershop, and then home. Along the way the hard-to-accept truth sinks in: he has to be a refugee from another era.
Never a risk-taker, Maggie’s carefully constructed life is about to change forever. Swept up in an ancient prophecy that links her to Lachlan and his dragon, she must push the edges of the impossible to save both the present and her heart.

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Review by Melissa Snark:

 So, I played one of those Facebook games this week that instructed me to combine the title of whatever I happened to be reading with "in your pants".  I got: TO LOVE A HIGHLAND DRAGON IN YOUR PANTS.

Personally, I think it has a certain ring to it. Who amongst us wouldn't love a highland dragon in their pants?   I think my title may be a bit catchier (if not as succinct) as Ann Gimpel's. The only issue I perceive might be fitting the whole thing on the cover.

People who know me know that I like to shorten titles that are a mouthful down to acronyms. Henceforth, the book shall be known as TLHD (IYP).

This is a drive by review. The author provided an ARC but I'm pretty sure she's got no clue this is coming. (And after a solid year of reviewing, it still amazes me that I can find authors willing to put up with my crap.)

TLHD (IYP) is a contemporary paranormal romance about an ancient Celtic dragon shifter who pulls a Rip Van Winkle and dozes off for a few hundred years. Upon awakening, he meets psychiatrist Maggie Hibbins who helps him adjust to modern living.  There is magic, Celtic gods, exciting fight scenes and sizzling hot sex. In other words, a whole lot to love.

In particular, I loved the hero, Lachlan, and his dragon-duality, Kheladin. His voice was really well done, especially his accent, which I "heard" as I read. It takes an impressive amount of skill to write a dialect so well. The hero was big, brassy, always horny, and antiquated in funny ways. His adjustment to the modern world was played for laughs, but not overdone to the point where he looked foolish. The exchanges between Lachlan and Kheladin were entertaining, although I found the whole two people in one body thing a bit odd.

Maggie is intelligent, well-educated, and also an untrained witch. Despite the undeveloped nature of her magic, she proves to be Lachlan's match. Their combined magic provides the forces of good with a powerful weapon in the fight for right. Their chemistry is amazing and I really loved how Maggic keeps Lachlan's big ego in check by keeping him real while still helping him.

The author delivers great plot twists, solid pacing, ear-pleasing dialogue, interesting secondary characters and an unexpected time loop. It's a superb read from cover to cover.  My recommendation is to run--don't walk--to your closest ebook store and acquire a copy.

Ann Gimpel is a clinical psychologist, with a Jungian bent.  Avocations include mountaineering, skiing, wilderness photography and, of course, writing.  A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Several paranormal romance novellas are available in e-format. Three novels, Psyche’s Prophecy, Psyche’s Search, and Psyche's Promise are small press publications available in e-format and paperback. Look for three more urban fantasy novels coming this summer and fall: To Tame a Highland Dragon, Earth’s Requiem and Earth’s Blood.
A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.
@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)


  1. If Melissa says your book is good, that's golden for me. I've just downloaded it. Wishing you great sales and positive reviews. Good luck to you, Ann.

    1. Aww, thanks Vonnie! You totally rock. :-)

  2. Thank you so much, Vonnie! Please let me know what you think.

  3. Oh my goodness, Melissa! Thank you a million times over for your ringing endorsement of TLAHD (IYP)! I'm so glad the characters came alive for you.

    1. Ann, you're welcome! It was a fantastic story. I loved it. :-)

  4. Your book sounds wonderful. Just the perfect story to read on the kind of snowy day we're having here. Definitely adding it to my "must read" list.