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review 2017-11-13 12:59
Review For: The Devil of Dunakin Castle by Heather McCollum
The Devil of Dunakin Castle (Highland Isles) - Heather McCollum

The Devil of Dunakin Castle by Heather McCollum is Book Four in the "Highland Isles" series. This is the story of Grace Ellington and Keir MacKinnon. I have read all the books in this series (and LOVED THEM!) but feel this can easily be a standalone book.
Grace is the daughter of the Earl of Somerset and has inherited an Estate down in York England but she prefers to live at a cottage on the edge of Aros village near her half sister Ava. Grace has taken to learning to heal people and with that comes some independence. But between the village people, her sister and even the blacksmith Thomas thinks she should give in to her suitors like Gavin and marry. But Grace wants more than that. Grace is looking to overcome some of her fears and go on an adventure. Also Grace would like the passion she sees with her sister Ava and her husband along with Mairi and her husband. Grace decided to travel to help Mairi with the birth of her child. Thomas elected to escort her there but along the way he started getting sick and when they stopped in a Village, Grace went to get something to help Thomas she meets Keir. Keir is traveling to find the famous healer to help his sick nephew. Keir is the youngest brother of the Chief of the Mackinnon clan on the Isle of Skye. Keir is a strong man who brings discipline to his clan members and fear in his enemies. But he does stop to help Grace when she is trapped by wolves but get hurt in the end. So Grace helps to heal him which gets Keir to thinking that she could help his nephew and he will bring a healer to his nephew by any means possible.
I am so happy to read Grace and Keir story, it just added a little more love I have for this seires!
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Source: www.amazon.com/Devil-Dunakin-Castle-Highland-Isles-ebook/dp/B076PNTYC7/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1510503205&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Devil+of+Dunakin+Castle+Heather+McCollum
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review 2017-11-12 17:13
Review: The Devil of Dunakin Castle by Heather McCollum
The Devil of Dunakin Castle (Highland Isles) - Heather McCollum

My review cross-posted from Wit and Sin

 

A kind hero forced to play the beast, a heroine who is braver and stronger than she knows, and a romance that is by turns sweet and sensual makes The Devil of Dunakin Castle a wonderful read. Heather McCollum’s writing charms the heck out of me and I loved getting lost in Grace and Keir’s story.

Grace is a wholly endearing heroine. She’s the wallflower type who finally gets a chance to come into her own and she shines. In the beginning of the story, she’s looking for adventure. She gets more than she bargained for when she’s nearly mauled by wolves, rescued by Keir, then snowbound with an injured Keir, and then kidnapped by the man so that she may use her healing skills to heal his nephew (these are not spoilers as they all happen right at the beginning of the story). Grace faces all these obstacles with determined practicality and strong spirit, which I adored. She has more spine than she knows, which she’ll need if she wants to claim Keir for her own. Keir has been groomed since childhood to be the Devil of Dunakin Castle, the great and brutal defender of the MacKinnon clan. His reputation is larger-than-life, making him feared by all except his family and closest friend who know the truth: that Keir is a good, strong, fair man. My heart broke for Keir, who is forced to be an isolated monster and carry out punishments in the name of his increasingly bloodthirsty brother.

Grace is the first woman not cowed by Keir’s reputation. She sees the man beneath the mask and I absolutely loved that. The two of them have great chemistry from the start. They’re the kind of couple that fits perfectly. But with treachery afoot at Dunakin Castle and Keir’s sworn duty as the Devil in the way, the road to happily ever after isn’t an easy one. I was rooting for them every step of the way and their love story is an excellent mix of sweetness and steam.

The Devil of Dunakin Castle is the fourth book in Ms. McCollum’s Highland Isles series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. I have been reading this series out of order and have had no problems other than I desperately want to find the time to catch up because I love Ms. McCollum’s writing. If you’re a fan of Julie Garwood’s Highland romances, then you’re going to love The Devil of Dunakin Castle. It’s a spirited, delightful read with characters who will easily grab your heart.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/11/review-devil-of-dunakin-castle-by.html
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review 2017-11-07 21:25
Rezension | Stephen King/Richard Chizmar: Gwendys Wunschkasten
Gwendys Wunschkasten - Stephen King,Richard Chizmar,Ulrich Blumenbach
Gwendys Wunschkasten ist eine Zusammenarbeit zwischen Stephen King und Richard Chizmar, eine Herausgeber von dark-fantasy- und Horror- Geschichten.  Die Kurzgeschichte hat knapp 125 Seiten und erzählt die Geschichte von Gwendy, - ein Mix aus Gwendolyn und Wendy, - die mit 12 Jahren von einem fremden Mann einen kleinen Kasten mit besonderen Fähigkeiten bekommt. 
 
Gwendy ist zu Beginn stark übergewichtig, hat sich jedoch vorgenommen vor dem Wechsel auf die höhere Schule Gewicht zu verlieren. Dazu rennt sie jeden Tag die Stufen der „Selbstmord-Treppe“ hinauf zum Castle-View. Dort trifft sie einen Mann, der sie erst eine ganze Weile beobachtet, und ihr eines Tages einen Kasten schenkt. Einen Kasten, mit Hebeln und Knöpfen, der nun Gwendy ganz allein gehört. 
 
Für Stephen-King-Kenner: Die Geschichte spielt in Castle Rock, größere Anspielungen auf andere Werke dort konnte ich allerdings nicht erkennen. 
 
Die Idee hat Potential. 
 
Es wird nicht genutzt. 
 
Der Kasten, der wertvolle Silberdollar ausspuckt und kleine Schokoladentiere, die einem die Lust auf weitere Süßigkeiten nehmen, hat neben diesen eher harmlosen Funktionen eine weitaus bedrohlichere Funktion. Es geht um nichts anderes als die Möglichkeit die Welt zu zerstören. Außerdem bewirkt der Kasten Dinge im Leben seines Besitzers, wenn dieser ihn in Ruhe lässt. Eine furchtbare Macht, mit einem nicht zu verachtenden Vorteil. In der Hand eines Kindes. 
 
Das Problem bei dieser Geschichte ist, dass die Idee nicht ausgespielt wird. Das ganze Buch ist hauptsächlich nur … nett. Es gibt keine nennenswerten Konsequenzen, und die Autoren King und Chizmar schaffen es die negativen am Ende auch noch zu verneinen. Die einzige Reibungsfläche der ganzen Geschichte wird am Ende weg-erzählt. Selbst der Höhepunkt ist unspektakulär, weil Gwendy als Charakter eine Katastrophe nicht mehr tragen kann, als dass es mich angemessen berühren würde. 
 
Es mag von mir als Leser oberflächlich sein, aber ich fühle mehr mit Menschen mit, die es anderweitig schwer haben, als mit Menschen, bei denen ich weiß, dass sie am Ende ganz sicher wieder auf den Füßen landen. Die Tragik verliert ihr Gewicht. 
 
Gwendys Wunschkasten ist eine nette Geschichte. Mehr nicht. 
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review 2017-11-07 03:11
Wilde in Love by Eloisa James
Wilde in Love: The Wildes of Lindow Castle - Eloisa James

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This book was such a delight to read! I decided that I was going to have to read this book as soon as I got a really good look at it. The cover is great and the description is even better. When I noticed that this was the first book in a new series, I was even more excited. This book lived up to all of my expectations. I had such a good time reading it and honestly hated to put it down. 

The characters in this book were wonderful. Alaric is frustrated by all of the attention he is receiving. He is the kind of man that cares little of what other people think unless they are important to him. Willa knows what is expected of a proper lady and is not impressed by Alaric's fame in the least. These two fit together so well and the chemistry between them really helped to keep the pages turning. I liked these two characters on their own but they really seemed to come alive in the scenes that they shared with each other.

There were a lot of secondary characters that played important roles in this story. I had a moment early in the book that I had to really concentrate to keep everyone straight but each character was so well developed that wasn't an issue for long at all. I am a huge animal lover so I am usually a fan of animals being a part of the story especially when they are important characters in the story. Sweetpea and Hannibal were such nice additions to this story. Who doesn't want an adorable pet skunk?

This was a really well done romance. There is enough excitement to really keep things interesting especially as the book progressed. I found the story to have some more humorous moments and a few nail biting scenes. I loved how romantic the story really was with just enough steamy scenes to have a very nice balance.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance. This book has that happily ever after I was looking for and things wrap up nicely for Alaric and Willa. There is a bit of an open end for Alaric's brother, North, that has me really eager to get my hands on the next book in this series. I will definitely be reading more from Eloisa James in the future.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Avon Books via Edelweiss.

Initial Thoughts
I had so much fun reading this book! Willa and Alaric were simply wonderful characters and had great chemistry with each other. The secondary characters were great as well and really added to the overall story. There was even an adorable skunk and a misunderstood cat to round out the ensemble. I can't wait to read more about the Wildes!

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review 2017-11-06 16:57
Strong Romantic Element, Flow Hampers Story-line
The Cosy Teashop in the Castle: The Bestselling Feel-Good ROM Com of the Year - Caroline Roberts

Hmm I did like the first book in this series better than the second book (more on that in another review). Roberts decides to tell her story through two characters POVs (Ellie and Joe). Ellie is a 20 something working a job she doesn't love. Still at home with her parents and wishing to make her dream of opening a bakery a reality, Ellie interviews for a job at a castle running a tea shop. Though she has no real world experience besides baking for family and friends, Ellie thinks she can make the tea shop a success. When she gets the job she finds herself pulled more to the general manager of the castle, Joe.

 

I did like the central plot. Young woman decides to move away from home (just an hour) in order to follow her dream of owning her own bakery. Ellie loves to bake and has her grandmother's old recipe book in hand. When she moves into the castle though you see that she has not thought everything through. It would have been great if Roberts had included more missteps by Ellie such as ordering too much or not enough for visitors. Learning how to make other recipes. Dealing with difficult customers, something. Instead we have Ellie having some minor difficulties with one of the older waitresses and having to go and ask Joe for help and almost crying because he was harsh with her for not knowing how to run a bakery. Did I mention that Ellie lied during her interview? Yeah. I would have been harsh too.

 

Joe's story was much more interesting. I don't want to spoil for potential readers though. I found him less interesting as the story went on since Roberts just focuses on how sexy Joe is finding Ellie and when the sex scenes start that is just the rest of the book really until the end. 

 

The writing was okay. I think it just got way too repetitive for me towards the end. We know that Ellie is worried about making the tea shop a success, we get that she's worried about what to order and bake. I just really wanted something more. We know she had a broken engagement, but it's given no real depth in the book. I wish we had gotten a prologue or something with the ex fiancee or something. He was just some faceless character.


The flow was wonky between segues of Ellie and Joe's POV. 

 

The setting of the castle should have been played up more than it was I think. I love the idea of a castle with a tea shop attached to it. We also know that Lord Henry (the owner) is dealing with the costs to keep up the place and I loved the reality of owning something like that and the taxes and other things you need to worry about. 

 

The ending was okay but felt flat. Things felt very rushed to me and I wish we had more time with the main character with them interacting and talking more. Seriously, towards the end there was just a lot of boom chick a wow wow. I love that in a romance, but I didn't see a connection between Ellie and Joe. This book made me long for the Escape to New Zealand series (the first few books). That's the way to give you some red hot romance with plot/tension mixed in. 

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