Tag Archives: historical

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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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!

What Is She Thinking?

I had to put the historical romance to the side because… Well, to be quite honest – I’ve never been to England and I’m not sure why I want to write this. While I love reading Regency (and other English set) Romance, I kind of want my romances to be more “local”…

That, plus that week I had to take off while I was sick really did a number on me, and I’m just not able to get my head back in it – not right now anyway.

So what am I working on? Well, I had that dragon fantasy thing I was doing for the contest. Except now, I cannot find the contest link. But I am having FUN exploring 3rd Omni, and trying to create a fantasy world that is still a little more English than local (no queens and kings in Illinois, folks – sorry). I never thought I would write fantasy, but when I first learned of Gaslamp Fantasy, I fell in love.

So, this is what I’ve been working on lately. This is my serial project. I’m aiming for pieces that are 10,000 words each – ones that I can then package as larger pieces for selling, perhaps? Who knows.

A great while ago, when the world was full of wonders, dragons roamed the earth. When the humans became humans and shifters, the dragons adapted. When humans and shifters became humans, shifters, and vampires, the dragons retreated. Abandoning their great cities, fortresses, and castles to the humans, they escaped back to the impenetrable forests, mountains, and oceans from whence they came.

The humans moved in to the abandoned territories, savagely protecting what they claimed was theirs by right, by birth. Vampires were sent to hunt in the dead of night, shifters by light of the sun. The mighty beasts dwindled. Too soon, only a handful remained. When the Great Mother passed into Eternal Night, she foretold of a future in which dragons no longer have to hide. One in which the healing waters of Hydros mingle with the rebirthing flames of Hephaestus to bring forth a new generation.

These few remaining dragons soon abandoned their forests, mountains, and ocean floors for the cold mountainous regions known as Devil’s Back. There, they lost hope, relinquished their fleeting humanity – to await the birth of the prophesied child. Craving the touch of man, the lone water dragon slipped away one night. Nine months later, she birthed a daughter of fire, blind at birth. The choice is presented: abandon the crippled girl to the humans, or they could both die outcast and alone. Unable to condemn her child to death, or relinquish the company of dragons, Emmaline abandons her only daughter to the Children of Prometheus, hoping she will learn empathy, love, and kindness. Hoping that she will save them all.

That daughter is now twenty-one, and this is her story.

Update

So, who caught this stupid cold making the rounds right now? If you guessed me, you win. I’ve been trying to get back to this blog for weeks. But there just isn’t any motivation. I set myself too grueling a task and I failed. It was really frustrating.

And frustration leads to… More failure? Ugh. Depression. Feelings of not being good enough. Bet you know the drill.

11150617_10205646100368148_8483514894847707659_n This is my cat, Parker. You can call him Prks – I do. Pretty stinking cute, right? He has three legs – he’s missing a hind leg. That puts him at a disadvantage because his jump skills aren’t on par with other cats. He climbs really well – digging in claws and pulling himself up. He never gives up, either. Never doubts himself, even if he is scared of everything.

Would that I could be as strong as my cat, eh?

Well, I recently made a decision to stop dwelling on the negative. I am (almost) forty damned years old. Why the hell am I letting negativity and shame or hate rule my life, by allowing them to sway my feelings? You know what that does, right? Turns you bitter, builds knots in your innards that will (not so) slowly kill you.

I’m not ready to die. Not in the slightest. In fact, as I face the barrel of 40, I find a renewed interest in life. Specifically, island life. While I would certainly love to pick up and move to the U.S. Virgin Islands tonight, as an adult I have responsibilities. Specifically, responsibilities to my husband. We’ve come up with a compromise – Hawaii. And I want to make sure we enjoy the time we have there to the fullest, so we’re saving as much as we can for 10 years – and getting as healthy as we can, too.

Anyway, I’ve sort of lost my train of thought. See, here’s the thing – I started my Serial Sunday with the intent of developing the back story for my male lead, Duncan. But it wasn’t necessary. Not only did I change the background story so that his parents have a happy marriage (if not a happy ending), but there’s that whole Dragon Horde and whatnot. It had zero business being in my historical romance.

A Gaslamp Fantasy, on the other hand? Yes. Especially one centered around dragons.

No, I have not abandoned Midnight Garnets. Absolutely not. I’ve just realized where all that other stuff belongs.

That said, there are going to be some changes going forward.

One, I am dropping the Serial Sundays – for now. I love the idea of serializing a story, whether here on my blog for free or on a site where people pay to read it, but it has to be an actual story. One with at least a theme and an idea of a plot. I love the idea of audience participation guiding the story. What about you? Interested?

Two, The pieces I share going forward are going to be from stalled projects or something I am reading. Something that I own. And even then, just tidbits – ten lines or less. Perhaps my favorite line of a story or one I think readers will enjoy. Something to get you involved in what I’m reading.

Three, I am definitely going to be sharing more from blogs I follow through reblogging or pressing – or whatever we are calling it these days. There’s so much good stuff out there right now. It needs to reach everyone.

So there you have it. Also, I need to find a legit way to bring in extra cash to put into my savings account. Any tips?