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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

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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

 

The Nearer the Dawn

So, in an effort to get back into blogging and supporting other authors, I recently joined a new Facebook group for reviewers. I’m excited for the potential to meet new authors. I’m especially excited to read their stories.

Let me start off with the “cover blurb”, as I usually do –

We all wear masks of secrecy. Some are small and insignificant while others are dark and forbidden. We wear them to mislead and deceive. It is, after all, easier to live a lie than to expose ourselves to the world. Exposure would leave us vulnerable. Yet, the truth could set us free; we hope. The moment we truly abandon all forgeries and remove our veil is the only time we can fully accept our true identity.

For Nina Luther living a lie is life in its purest form. As a child, Nina knew she and her entire family were different. The mortals who surround her, fear the unknowingness of what they will become. Nina has no such fear. She is all too aware that her time here on Earth will be plagued by her heavenly gift to help others; she despises this. All Nina desires is to be an average high school senior, but cannot hide from her divine destiny.

While adapting to her family’s recent move to Savannah, Georgia, Nina falls hard for Chase James, a mysterious loner with a dark and demonic secret of his own. 

In this world there are saints and sinners. The difference between the two: every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. Who will be the last one standing? Will the demonic uprising on Earth mean the end for the mortal angel Nina? Or will she live to die another day?

 

So how did I feel about my first offering?

The Good – I love origin stories – as in all the different versions of how the world was created and all the gods and demons. J.P. Berry has a great twist on the classic, and I really enjoyed that.

The Bad – The story is predictable. You have the obligatory loner, the alpha bitch, the mouse, the jock, and the “freak” (or so she sees herself as). Beyond that, the characters just feel so one-dimensional that it’s hard to really life any of them.

The Ugly – Well, to be honest – everything except the origin story. The writing isn’t that good, and the grammar is horrible. I’m no Grammar Girl, so please take my opinion for what it is – an opinion. There were commas where there shouldn’t have been. There was an oddly placed em-dash or two. And at least one instance of tense change in a three-sentence section. Past tense to present then back to past. And the point of view used just didn’t work for me. First person is hard – I know; I don’t use it personally for that very reason. But beyond that, it was all tell and no show.

But what about the story, you ask? Well, it has so much potential that I could just cry. Like, I wanted to get into it so badly, but all the problems above just took me out of it and I couldn’t get into it at all. I’m literally on the fence with this one. Will I recommend it to others? No. But would I consider picking up the next book to see if (a) the author’s writing has improved and (2) how the story concludes? It’s entirely possible.

I love getting mail

I have oily skin. Like, really gross oily skin. Wash in the morning, and it feels like oil is dropping down your face by noon. I’ve avoided makeup because of this. But truth is, I love some makeup. 

Well, I finally found a delightful face wash made specially for people like me. It’s the Biore charcoal face wash. Then, I invested in a decent moisturizer specially for people with oily skin, and I immediately noticed an improvement. 

Which prompted me to seek out primer. 

Can I just pause and admit, I haven’t warn makeup in so long this whole primer thing was a mystery. But, I did some research, and I found some good suggestions. And I promptly took myself to Sephora because I wanted samples before committing. 
The lovely girl offered a sample of Dr Brandt’s Pores No More. And she gave me sample of Murad moisturizer. 

Well, I recently joined Ipsy, and I got a Trust Fund Beauty primer, too. 

Which to use? 

I’m sold on the Murad and Dr Brandt’s combination. I don’t care if it’s more expensive. It’s worth it. 

I also bought some new mascara. That haul came in the mail today. I’m like a kid in a candy store! 


I’m not sure what to do with the salve, but I bought it anyway. 

Eventually, I will get up a better review, and maybe some pics. 

Still Writing

Ok, so it’s not #NaNoWriMo, but I accomplished a THING, you guys. 

You know, a thing. 

A goal. A writing goal, at that. 

In September, I set a goal to do the #writeastorychallenge. One word prompt, minimum two sentences. I told myself, everything had to be relevant to my current project. 

And I did it. 


I don’t know how to flip that, sorry. 

Yeah, that’s 30 scenes started. 

It doesn’t look like those same people are doing one for October, so I created my own. 


I can’t wait to start getting things in order! I’m going to be going through the plot in a few weeks – in that super brief period between class endings and beginnings. 

I’d love if you joined me! I’ll be on Twitter as @beautifulsadist and Instagram as @lauramichaela.author. 

Just. One. Book.

Throwing Chanclas

Just. One. Book.

I live in a town of 1200 people in the Northern Sierra Nevada –where it meets the Cascade Range near Mt. Lassen National Park and about two hours drive northwest of Reno, NV.  Two hundred of that population is students. Over the years as the population dwindled after mines closed, then mills–nothing except tourism and retirement have emerged as ‘industries.’ Many businesses have closed down and with it many things we take for granted—like libraries.

The local junior/senior high school has not been able to purchase new books since the 90s. Some of the “check outs” for old books are in the 1980s. There are no books by people of color in the library. Hardly any books by women are in the few book cases except your standard Austen and Lee. It’s an uninviting place. There hasn’t been a librarian for nearly a decade. And volunteers weren’t allowed. The…

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