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Review: Binding Vows (MacCoinnich Time Travel #1) by Catherine Bybee



Author: Catherine Bybee
Title: Binding Vows
Series: MacCoinnich Time Travel / The Vows
Book #: 1
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance, Highland Fling
Release date: January 13, 2013
Publisher: Self-published
Length: 298 pages
Heat level: moderate to strong
Review copy provided by: Author, in exchange for honest review, without any other type of compensation
Reviewer recap: When nursing student Tara McAllister is dragged by her best friend Cassy to a Medieval Renaissance Faire in Middle of Nowhere, California, she hardly expects the weekend will be anything less than a disappointment. When the Faire's Gypsy Queen Gwen pegs her as a virgin and names her and Cassy the royal guests of the Faire, Tara is so humiliated that she considers giving up on the venture entirely. Enter Duncan MacCoinnich, a man out of his time who has come to the Faire to stop the plans of the vicious witch Grainna. After a first meeting that involves him sitting on her, Duncan realizes that Tara is the virgin sacrifice Grainna needs to get back her powers and return to sixteenth-century Scotland. All he needs to do is to deflower Tara and that fate will be prevented, but can he go through with it, even if she agrees? A tale of witches, knights, druids, and true love woven through time from modern day California to the ancient days of the Scottish Highlands, Binding Vows is a GraveTells Recommended Read!
Writing style & finesse



Character development

Likeable/relatable characters

Plot tension

Flow & pacing

Heat &/or sexual tension

Total Score
8/ 10

User Rating
80 total ratings


Bottom Line

Binding Vows was a delightful surprise, blending two of my favorite things, Scottish men and time travel, together into one book. Bybee writes in such a way that I often could not put the book down for a span of several hours. She takes the traditional romance formula of the beautiful virgin, the experienced warrior, and the irrefutable power of true love, and makes it feel new.

Posted February 18, 2013 by

Full Review

*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***

Tara McAllister is not one for the being the center of attention. So, when her best friend Cassy bullies her into going to a Renaissance Faire, she is far less than thrilled to be picked as the royal guest, much less to have to display her virginity to every lusty man. Her patience for all the attention, as well as the constant shenanigans of her friend, is already wearing thing when she falls asleep in a hay stack and is sat on by one Duncan MacCoinnich. Duncan says that he is visiting the Faire from his home of Scotland, and he has the accent to back it up. However, his old-fashioned way of speech and values puts Tara on her guard.

Binding Vows is the first book in Bybee’s MacCoinnich Time Travel Series, and it does not disappoint. Bybee writes her heroine as a thoroughly modern woman, determined to stick to her values despite the lure of Duncan’s looks and charm. In a genre that’s filled with men who force submission onto their female partners, this is nothing less than a breath of fresh air. Tara’s strength is never pushed to the side or shown as inferior to anyone. In fact, she’s very often portrayed as being stronger, physically and emotionally, than almost all the other characters. Duncan MacCoinnich is a hero worthy of the name, and the supporting cast of his family provide both emotional support and comic relief. Finally, the villain Grainna does not hold out on showing that she is, in fact, evil. She does not care to differentiate between someone she wants to kill and someone who just gets in her way. This book definitely exceeded my expectations. It is a very good foundation for what is sure to be a great series.

Memorable Quotes:

All aboard the car to nowhere.

“Remember, this was your idea,” Cassy said, glancing up from the papers she was reading.

“No. I suggested going to Medieval Times for dinner and a show. You came up with The Renaissance Faire. You’d think after last time, I would have learned,” Tara muttered. “Who could have known Wyoming would be so cold in February?”

“It was winter! And cold doesn’t describe what twenty below zero feels like. “I never even got on the back of a horse. Who goes to a Dude Ranch in the winter?”

They did.

Past, meet present.

Duncan waited two steps before offering assistance. His mind wrapped around the facts quickly. This was a maiden Grainna took notice of. “You could use a little help, lass. Here, let me.” He pulled Cassy away from her.

She pulled back. “I don’t think so.”

“You’re injured,” he said, tugging again. “Remember?”

“I’m fine, ’tis just a scratch!’” She tossed his words, and his accent back. “Remember?”

“Aye, I do,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “Let me assist ye. We wouldn’t want ye to start bleeding again.”

Cassy started looking a little green. Her role of a human rope in a game of tug of war wasn’t mixing well with her intoxicated state.

“Listen, buster. I’m done.” The girl glared at him. “I’ve had a lousy flippin’ day and an even more memorable night. All I want is to be left alone. So if you don’t mind, we can manage just fine without you!”

A lady is not safe with man or beast.

“A lady is not safe out here by herself.”

She stopped again. This time he didn’t stop in time and fell into her. Hands at her sides, her chest thrust up next to his, she gritted the words between her teeth. “A lady isn’t safe around you, either.”

“Now, Tara.” He tried pleading with her.

“Oh don’t you even, ‘now, Tara’ me.” She stepped to the side and started off in a different direction. Walking in circles.

Rating: Binding Vows






    I love time time travel stories and this one sounds like a fun read.
    Stubborn Tara and a gentlemanly Duncan. Give me a brae Scotsman for me.


    Great review. I love the TLDR and that there aren’t any spoilers. Thank you for that! This book sounds really good. I’m all about druids, Scotsmen, and magic. That cover isn’t anything to sneeze it either. 😉

    Tina B

    Great review! I just recently picked this one up. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing.

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