Category Archives: Reader

Book Two: The Devil of Dunakin Castle

Right up front – let’s agree on the facts. I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) of both of these books in exchange for an honest review. And I’ve always been up front that I won’t sugar coat things, and I won’t agree to a minimum number of stars for a book. If you wrote a 1 star book, I’m going to give it a 1 star rating. Reviews are subjective, and personal to each individual reviewer.

Scandalous RDB (1)

Sorry guys. I wasn’t given a picture of just this cover by itself.

The Devil of Dunakin Castle

Englishwoman, Grace Ellington, has made a home in Scotland, but to escape from the meddling people around her who seem to think she needs to wed right away—because women need saving, right? —she volunteers to journey north to aid a friend in childbirth. 

Keir MacKinnon, the younger brother of the MacKinnon clan chief, has been raised to strike fear in people, on and off the battlefield. Trained to uphold MacKinnon law, he has hardened into a lethal warrior. Caught in a Highland blizzard with the feisty Grace, Keir realizes the beautiful woman who saved him can also save his nephew’s life. 

Sparks fly when he takes her against her will to his home, and Grace’s courage is put to the ultimate test. Is Keir MacKinnon the passionate, kind man she saved in the Highland blizzard, or is he truly the cruel executioner who seeks to solve all issues by the sword?

✭ ✭ Purchase links ✭ ✭
Amazon: https://goo.gl/treaUE
B&N: https://goo.gl/GS6mFj
iTunes: https://goo.gl/WZ4oMv
Kobo: https://goo.gl/oSw4yc
Goodreads: https://goo.gl/6pCSte

So, about this book. Let me say that my ARC had formatting issues, and that made it difficult to read the book. I don’t believe that to be a fault of the author, however, and that will not affect my feelings toward the book.

Like the last book, I had a hard time buying the premise of this book. First of all, this involves kidnapping. While the heroine acknowledges that she’s been kidnapped, it’s otherwise fairly well glossed over. And sure, maybe it was for a good cause – the man’s nephew appears to be dying, after all.

And yet… I enjoyed the book. I like spirited, fiesty Grace. I liked her for leaving behind a life of wealth and privilege in England. I further liked her for recognizing her own worth. I enjoyed getting to know Kier, although he was a bit watered down. It was almost as if, in humanizing him, he just became someone other than who he was meant to be. I don’t actually know how to explain it.

There’s quite a bit of foreshadowing involved, and the bad guy is obvious from the first mention of his name. Despite the obviousness, the situation wasn’t easily resolved, which I enjoyed. I like to see people actually fight for their Happily Ever After.

I’ve not previously read anything by Heather McCollum, but I’m tempted to go back and read the others. I would definitely recommend this one.

✭ ✭ ✭ About the Author ✭ ✭ ✭

Heather McCollum

Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical and YA paranormal romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology, much to her English professor’s dismay, and was a 2009 Golden Heart Finalist.

When she is not picking her teen’s brain for authentic attitude for her YA books and finding time to write, she is usually found educating women on ovarian cancer symptoms. Ms. McCollum has recently slayed the cancer beast and resides with her very own hero and 3 kids in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.

Connect:
Site: http://www.heathermccollum.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherMcCollumAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HMcCollumAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4185696.Heather_McCollum

Advertisements

Book One: Duchess by Day, Mistress by Night

Right up front – let’s agree on the facts. I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) of both of these books in exchange for an honest review. And I’ve always been up front that I won’t sugar coat things, and I won’t agree to a minimum number of stars for a book. If you wrote a 1 star book, I’m going to give it a 1 star rating. Reviews are subjective, and personal to each individual reviewer.

DbDMbN

Duchess by Day, Mistress by Night

Georgiana Rutherford, the Duchess of Hardcastle, seemingly has it all—wealth, pedigree, and the admiration of the ton, except her heart hungers for a passionate affair. She meets the enigmatic and ruthless Mr. Rhys Tremayne, a man known to low and high society as the Broker. The attraction between them is impossible to deny, but she cannot be feeling it for this man. 

Rhys Tremayne has built his wealth and empire by dealing secrets on the black market of the London underworld. He is determined to take his sisters away from the depraved world they’ve known their entire lives, and the duchess is the perfect woman to help sponsor his sisters into society. The only problem is that he wants more from Georgiana, even if the social divide between them ensures she can only ever be his lover in secret.

✭ ✭ Purchase links ✭ ✭
Amazon: https://goo.gl/vgMaoC
B&N: https://goo.gl/88M4XG
iTunes: https://goo.gl/b1PyYG
Kobo: https://goo.gl/2bNQnC
Goodreads: https://goo.gl/SX7BU7

So, how did I feel about this book I received in exchange for my honest opinion? Well, it was just meh. Overall, the book was a quick, easy read with enough sex to qualify it as Scandalous. I had problems remembering how to access docs on my Kindle, and did not start this until Saturday. I finished it Saturday.

But…

The plot was weak. There were problems thrown at these characters, but they were, essentially, Deus Ex Machina‘d aside as if they were cobwebs, easily cleaned with a broom or cloth. Every.single.problem was too easily solved.

But the characters… Well, I enjoyed Rhys’ sisters. I did not particularly care for Georgiana’s family, however. Perhaps I was not meant to? As for the duchess herself? She was OK. Part of it was that she wasn’t standing up for herself with said family members. I mean, she’s a duchess, but her brother is bossing her about as if she’s living under his roof.

Would I recommend this book to others? Sure, if I think it’s their cup of tea.

✭ ✭ ✭ About the Author ✭ ✭ ✭

Stacy Reid

Stacy is an avid reader of novels with a deep passion for writing. She especially loves romance and adores writing about people falling in love. Stacy lives a lot in the worlds she creates and actively speaks to her characters (out loud). She has a warrior way, never give up on her dreams. When Stacy is not writing, she spends a copious amount of time drooling over Rick Grimes from Walking Dead, watching Japanese anime and playing video games with her love.

Connect:
Site: http://www.stacyreid.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stacyreid
Twitter: https://twitter.com/st_reid
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8076768.Stacy_Reid

 

My library

No, not the one at home. With our recent (01 April, 2017) move, all my books are pretty much still in boxes. Heck, some of those babies are still at the old place. I mean, we shared a house with my brother before buying our own, and he still lives there. And is even using some of our stuff, so… NBD? 

Yep, NBD. 

Anyway, I’m talking about our local public library. For five loooong years, we lived in an unincorporated township buried within city limits. So we were outside city limits while being surrounded by the actual city. Other than having to wait for the county sheriff department, do you know what that means? 

$80 per year to have a library card. 

Eighty dollars. 

I just couldn’t afford it – there was always something that needed that money more than the library. And I’m a huge library supporter. 

So yes, one of the first things I did was establish a library card. Yay!! 

I’m there a couple times every week or two. Lately, I’m on a huge cozy mystery kick. I especially love historical cozies (for this genre, Rhys Bowen is Queen). 

New to me are the Kate Shackleton mysteries by Frances Brody. I’m only on book 2, but that’s because I try to read in order. Very good. I definitely recommend them! 

I’ve also discovered Victoria Hamilton‘s Vintage Kitchen series lately. Ive read a few of these out of order, so I’m trying to correct that now – it might involve buying the first, but that’s perfectly fine. She has another series, that I’ve picked up a few books from. 
My favorite thing about her Vintage Kitchen sleuth? Mid-thirties (I’m early 40’s now so I can still relate), doesn’t want a career but likes to work odd jobs around her quaint Michigan village, and best of all? She’s a huge romance fan, and big names are dropped. 

So today, I brought home six cozies and one historical romance. And it’s even a new-to-me author. Kelly Bowen. 


I think I’ll start this one first. I’ll let you know what I think!

Hazel Marie Rossini

So, it’s Wednesday. That’s code for “Work-in-progress Wednesday”, aka What I’m Working on Now…

Truth me told, not much. It’s like I’m still reeling from school, and I’ve no idea what’s going on or where I’m going.

I have a character, as the blog title would suggest. Born 21 February, 1897, she is the fictional depiction of my maternal grandmother , who was also born in 1897. Because I am from a 2nd marriage, my grandmother was almost 80 when I was born, and I didn’t know her too well. By the time I came around, she was old and frail – and she had just lost a husband and already buried her daughter. I don’t want to say she was bitter, but that’s what I remember.

And now that my father is gone, I feel as though there is no connection there any longer – there is no one with whom I can discuss my grandparents. (Which is not true as I have an older half-brother and half-sister who could totes fill me in, were we close.)

But this is still something that bothers me.

So what does any nominally sane person do? Why, they fictionalize their Grandmother, of course. So, there you have it.

Now, characters have backgrounds, and Hazel is still revealing herself, although she is totes going to settle down with an Alfred at some point. I do know she’s hiding something BIG when she comes to town because she calls herself Ellis Bell, but she has not yet revealed the specifics.

Have I mentioned yet where my series will take place? Here. Right here in Springfield, Illinois. I am going to have so much fun digging into the history of my hometown 🙂 Let me be frank  – I am not sure where/how to start researching so TIPS ARE APPRECIATED. But, I suppose the first thing to do is save up the $80 and invest in a library card… I get a half day at work every other Friday in June, July, and August. Guess that’s what I’ll be doing with my time until my husband is off work 🙂

So, that’s what I am working on. I don’t have anything to share about it, though. No words, at least.

What I can also share is that I am still digging my Bullet Journal. I’m 3 weeks and 3 layouts in, and I think I’ve been too fancy pancy about it. I create with words, not doodles and fancy lettering. So when I start August, I am going back to a more minimal approach. As I become more comfortable, I will share pics.

Have I told you what the Bullet Journal is? Well, let me just share these links instead. They give you the best rundown.

Here is the original site. This is Kara, and she might be a genius. Shh. I didn’t tell you that. There are a ton of other sites. Most of them are full of beautiful lettering and doodles and color and… all the things I am not. And it’s spawned a bit of bullet journal envy in me, which is immature and petty, and just so… beneath me. So, I sat my ass down today (I mean, I was at work, so…) and listed why I want the bullet journal:

  1. productivity *
  2. efficiency *
  3. timely assignment completion for school
  4. budget free time
  5. writing goals

* These are also my buzzwords for the year at work. I’m doing pretty good, I think. I hope. oh, now I’m concerned.

Anyway…

I then asked, what do I want to track?

  1. blog posts – when, what, etc… I mean, I am FAILING you guys, and I need to be more productive.
  2. writing goals – will I track chapters or words, though? Not sure yet.
  3. weight loss
  4. habit tracker (this is amazing and helfpul) – here is Kara again, this time guest posting on Bulletjournal.com.
  5. savings goals
  6. daily water consumption
  7. gratitude
  8. No Spend months (although this could just be part of the habit tracker, come to think of it…)
  9. goals – daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, etc…
  10. class assignments
  11. positive quotes (because I’m trying to be more positive and not such a Negative Nancy)
  12. Bills – I have them on a monthly calendar right now.

So, I’m in love with this because I get to customize it 100% to what I want. And it requires some inner reflection – what works, what doesn’t. What should I keep, what can I do differently.

And frankly, I highly recommend it.

Oh, and I’m now on Instagram. @LauraMichaela_Author. So far, it’s BulletJournal and nature photos. #sorrynotsorry

Also! I had this question – do we, as authors, owe it to ourselves to read the stuff that is getting totally slammed in reviews? Is that part of being a better writer – the reading of the bad to see what NOT to do? I would love your opinions…

No apologies…

This second half of the semester is going to be hard, and that means I’m super busy. And that means less time for writing. Which makes me sad. 😢😢

Just how busy? Let me show you my personal calendar.. 

  
And that’s just school. Don’t forget, I also have a 40 hour work week in there, too.

As you can see, I left Sunday’s blank in the hope they will become my Sacred Writing Day. So far, not so much. There’s just too much work. 

But, I have to stop and take a break, so I’ve actually joined a little reading group on Facebook. It’s hosted by author Colleen Gleason, whose book I recently gave away. Vampires, 19th century London. I’m sold. 

So, I look forward to sharing information about the book with you, and I’ve a few more reviews to post. Perhaps tomorrow!!

It’s time for a giveaway!

I know, I play fast and loose with grammar (specifically capitalization) on here. I apologize. I’m back on my laptop, but after a few months of not using it, I’m out of practice with the smaller keys, and let’s be honest – desktop keyboards are just better. Yes, only in my opinion. Whatever.

Anyway. It’s been two weeks, and it’s time for me to announce a winner of the book giveaway. Now then, I had two people comment on the post, and frankly, because it’s only two, I’ve decided to just gift them BOTH a copy of the book.

Anyway, I will be contact the winners privately and arranging to get the book to them (or, as it is more commonly known: figuring out how to do this).

Whether you participated or not, I appreciate everyone stopping by! I think I’m going to make it my weekend routine to visit blogs and catch up.

Now then, I’m going to devote some time to writing. I’ve ignored it lately, and that’s not good. 😦

I found too many plot holes in my last outline, so that’s the first thing I’m going to address.

Book Review – Gems of Vice and Greed (and a giveaway)

In an effort to expand readership – and participation – I am going to be dedicating more time to my blog, and yours. To kick this off, I’m going to start reviewing books more frequently, and occasionally, I will give away a copy of the book I’m reviewing.

First, a few things of note – yes, I received this as an Advanced Reading Copy in exchange for an honest review, but I also purchased a copy to give away, so. Also, yes, this is an Affiliate link, but I will only be using the Affiliate link for products I like. not just to make money. That’s not what this is about, after all…

On to the review…

I feel like I should preface this review today with – I do not like most contemporary romances. I like contemporary chick lit, but not much current romance. It’s all the Billionaire’s this or the Millionaire’s that… So, when I tell you to read this book, I suggest you listen.

First of all, The Gems of Vice and Greed is book three in the Contemporary Gothic Romance series by Colleen Gleason. I have not read the first two, but you absolutely do not need to. That’s a major factor in a series for me – can it stand alone?

So, Vice and Greed tells the story of Leslie and Declan. Leslie, having removed herself from the corporate rat race, has settled down in Michigan to restore a historic mansion so that she can open an inn. Declan, the local blacksmith (drooling already,  aren’t you?) has moved to the same small town to raise the daughter he never knew he had.

Throw in a ghost and rumors of long lost jewels, and you’ve a sexy, intriguing story full of charming characters, simmering sexual tension, and mystery.

This is a must read!

Gems of Vice and Greed, Colleen Gleason

Now then, I promised a giveaway, did I not? So… Comment to tell me you want a copy, and I will pick a random winner 2 weeks from today – and that person will receive a copy of the book. This giveaway is only available for Kindle, and is not affiliated with Colleen Gleason or Amazon or anyone else. And if you’ve one available, share a picture of the sexiest (could be an ironsmith) you can find.

When I picture Declan, I am totally picturing Jason Mamoa, especially as the new (and improved) Conan.

jason-momoa-conan-21-6-10-kc