23 March, 2018

Congratulations! #MFRWauthor #Bloghop

Hi, everyone.

Welcome to Week 12 of the MFRW Author Blog's 52-Week Blog Challenge.

This Week's Topic is: My Contest Experiences (Win, Lose, Get Signed?)

(queue the laugh track, please)


Yeah, I have nothing to contribute to this week's challenge topic, sorry.

I think we've gone over this before, but, I'm too sensitive and spineless to set myself up for anything that involves the possibility of failure or judgement via peer evaluation.

I play the Lottery when their jackpots go sky-high, but even then I don't get anything in return.

An old friend of mine took her little ones down to some zoo in Ohio, and they were having a raffle that particular day, and of the thousands who went to that zoo that day, SHE came home with a brand new Chrysler convertible.

She told me she 'just had this feeling' she was going to win, and she did.

There was the time, ages ago, when some fitness club phoned to say I'd won their contest, (free 3-month membership) which they claim I had filled out a form to enter.

Trouble was, I hadn't joined nor visited a fitness club in all my life, so I said, "Yeah, sure." and hung up.

Even before that, I had also received an 'urgent' snail-mail saying I had the winning # for a car drawing, so I went to the dealership, stood in a long line of noise, too many helium-filled balloons for my nerves to handle, and a bit of anticipation mixed with doubt rolling around inside my head.

One by one, all of us 'winners' entered these steel doors.

When my turn came, the doors flew open, a salesman waved me inside, and... nothing.

From noisy chaos to dead air in less than a second, and one hell of a you've-been-suckered moment for me NOT to be utterly embarrassed of myself.

Two other guys sitting at a cardboard table with more entry forms, some pens, more balloons, and my 'consolation' prize... a cheap, fake gold chain not even big enough to fit around my wrist.

And, for the record, my wrists are really tiny!

Earn The Necklace

Please don't get me wrong.

I wanted to win!

The car, the lottery, a gym membership...

I'd be tickled PINK to say I actually won something, believe me.

Just as much as I'd love to win some writing contest.

If I had the nerve to enter and not think about that stupid car dealership thing at the same time.

It might just be me, too, because I've been in 3 separate classrooms now, in 3 separate schools all within the past 12 months or so where some contest or another is being held while I'm the sub.

Never has anyone from the class I'm subbing ever won any of the prizes 😞

The last contest actually took place that day I told you guys about in last week's post, and the prizes were amazing!

A Mac iPad, a $150 Amazon Gift Card, 4 Tickets to one of the March Madness basketball games, and then some lesser prizes of restaurant certificates, t-shirts, and some school supplies.

I felt as let-down as the kids with the sad faces who'd all gambled and lost that day.

I am the Charlie Brown of the real world, folks, even if I always felt so sorry for him and never actually identified with him until I was too old to think it mattered anymore.

Now, I'm not much of a Facebook fan anymore, nor Social Media in general, since they have all proved time and again how useless they are for anyone WITHOUT a huge following.

However, Facebook seems to be the leader for Authors who self-promote, and sometimes I see posts asking us to UP vote their work in order for them to win some award or contest.

Even if I haven't read the work?


Just click on the link, follow the instructions, and ta-da!

So, again, more proof that I am right about an author not necessarily needing talent or ability to become a Best Seller... just tons and tons of willing 'friends'.

They are legal Pyramid Schemes to my way of thinking: you recruit your friends, who recruit their friends, who recruit their friends, who recruit their friends...

The more recruits, the more votes, the higher your chances of winning become.

Don't matter none if the book hasn't been read by any of them, just that they vote!

I even saw one that said, "Enter As Many Times As You Wish!"

and another that said, "Only One Entry Per Hour, Please"

As for writing contests that involve judgment via Peer Groups, that is something different and obviously far more prestigious in the Contest Winning scheme of things.

I honestly don't know if any of these types of Awards exist anymore, (Pulitzer aside, of course), so I don't want to get in too deep with this one, except to say that if you are entering a legitimate contest where a select few Established Authors are going to be reading and reviewing your entry, then judging it as a group, well... jeez, if you win something like that, you are AMAZING!

I would be interested in entering as well, but not with the hope of winning.

Rather, I would hope that those judging my work would give me some tips, pointers, helpful advice, and loads of upbeat and encouraging words of wisdom.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

Lastly, if you want to look at the quarterly #PitMad events that occur on Twitter for us authors as being some type of Contest, so be it.

I can't win that one, either.

One time I even received the help of a lady who actually liked to write blurbs, and she did a terrific job reworking my convoluted sentences into something decent.

Still, no takers.

No up-votes, no 'likes', and no interested publishers or their editors.

So, while I totally agree with the You Can't Win if You Don't Play logic, I am not gullible enough to believe I still have a chance at winning.

And, unlike everyone else, it never does my heart good to say, "Well, at least I tried!"

No, instead I cry, sulk, mope about, hide under the covers, and then vow to never again set myself up for that type of a let-down.

Because it hurts.

As always, I thank you kindly for stopping by and reading my post!

Please scroll down to the LinkyLink tool and click on the next in line to read about Their Contest Experiences.

Blogging is an opportunity for authors to connect with readers. Despite being writers, blogging is an entirely different style of writing and often stumps us. To help our authors blog consistently, thoughtfully and with purpose, Marketing for Romance Writers is announcing the 2018 Blog Challenge. Each week, authors use our writing prompt to create a meaningful blog post. We'll be posting every Friday... join us as often as possible.
All authors with blogs are welcome to participate. 

18 March, 2018

A #review of Her Highland Defender by Samantha Holt

My review of Samantha Holt's Her Highland Defender, a Scottish Highlander Historical Romance novel.

Pages -  133 
Published -  November 12, 2015
Sold by -  Amazon Digital Services LLC
Genre -  Medieval, Historical Romance, Scottish Highlander
Language -  0/5
Sexual Content -  3/5
Narrative -  3rd P

While six thousand Scots follow Robert the Bruce to wage war on the English at Bannockburn, Blane Ross is fighting his own war—single-handedly. After the indiscriminate slaughter of his village at the hands of English mercenaries, he wants revenge. However, when he stops at a castle for information and rest, he doesn’t expect to come across a fierce, beautiful lass in sole charge.

Desperate for help, Ceana rejoices at the arrival of this impressive stranger. Dealing with her errant younger sister and her eccentric mother while trying to protect their clan hasn’t been easy. With all the men joining to fight against the English, it’s up to Ceana to ensure their fathers and brothers have a home to return to.
Her one secret doesn’t make matters any easier...

However, Blane doesn’t have time to aid the attractive lass, no matter how much her haunting blue eyes tug at a heart he thought had turned to stone long ago. The only way he’ll ever feel whole again is to ensure the mercenaries pay. But when she reveals her weakness, he has no choice but to offer her a few days of his time.

Before long, Blane receives his chance for revenge, but at what cost? Will Ceana and her family pay the price for his negligence just as his village did? Or can he protect them, even while he finds himself drawn to the stubborn woman and blinded by an attraction deeper than his thirst for English blood?

Her Highland DefenderHer Highland Defender by Samantha Holt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Great Cover Art!

As for the story... Not bad; not great.

Fairly well-written, but with too many oddly worded sentences to continuously yank me out of the story in order to mentally reword things so that they made sense.

"For many moments, neither of them moved." (sounds like a lifetime to me!)
"rested her ankle for a day was quite the miracle" (huh?)
“I care not what they will think." she refused to think on what they might think of her."
and a whole lot of
"She shook her head to herself." and "shook his head to himself."

I also find it impossible to believe that a Laird in that time period (turbulent as well) would leave the fortification of his entire Keep to not only a daughter, but a nearly blind daughter at that.

Does not matter that the author attempted to get around it by stating that a majority of the menfolk had died of some disease.


As modern-minded as you wish to believe you are today, and how utterly perfect you believe yourself to be by comparison to those who lived a'for ye, this just wouldn't have occurred.

Her father would have had to wait until reinforcements arrived via edict of the King, and that is that.

I felt little connection between the two leads because, as usual, everything occurred way too fast to be believed.

Insta-love, insta-sex, and insta-commitment that never sits well with me.

I did not mind the two leads on their own, though, so the author is fairly adept at character development.

However, she wrote the younger sister (Kate) like some modern day, self-serving brat whose head is loaded with "My mommy said" entitlement crapola.

Again, no.

Back then, that type of behavior would have been beaten out of any willful child at a much earlier age for it to be allowed to fester and spawn Satan's lovechild later on, thank you.

Three cheers for the good auld deys!


17 March, 2018

A #review of The Highlander's Reluctant Bride by Cathy MacRae (Book Two, Highlander's Bride series)

Today I review The Highlander's Reluctant Bride, Book 2 in The Highlander's Bride series, by Cathy MacRae.

The Highlander's Reluctant Bride
Series -  The Highlander’s Bride series (Book Two)
Pages -  318 
Publisher -  Soul Mate Publishing 
Published -  March 15, 2014
Genre -  Historical Romance, Scottish Highlands
Language -  0/5
Sexual Content -  3/5

Determined to keep the Macrory clan’s holdings out of the clutches of the Lord of the Isles and marauding pirates, King Robert II sends his man, Lord Ranald Scott, to hold Scaurness Castle. There, Laird Macrory lays dying, awaiting word from his son who is missing on the battlefields of France. If the son is not found before the old laird dies, Ranald will take over as laird—and marry Laird Macrory’s headstrong daughter.

Lady Caitriona sees no reason she cannot rule the clan in her brother’s stead, and is bitterly disappointed with the king’s decision to send a man to oversee the castle and people. Not only is Ranald Scott only distantly related to the Macrory clan, but he was her childhood nemesis. She has little trust or like for him.

Her disappointment turns to panic when the king’s plan is completely revealed and she realizes she must wed Ranald. Pirates, treachery, and a four-year-old girl stand between her and Ranald’s chance at happiness. What will it take for them to learn to trust each other and find the love they both deserve?

The Highlander's Reluctant Bride (The Highlander's Bride #2)The Highlander's Reluctant Bride by Cathy MacRae
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Is this another of those originally published back in the 70s novels re-written to soothe today's butt-hurt crowd?
It read that way to me.
Although not badly written and with fewer GPS issues than normal for most Romance novels, I still did not enjoy this one.
Too predictable, what with the author dropping major hints straight away, thus taking from me any chance for what-if's or an element of surprise later in the story.
Too much modern, PC-minded bull for me to become immersed in what is supposed to be 1377 Scotland Romance.
The thoroughly 21st Century thoughts, feelings, and mannerisms of the heroine, and the Metrosexual-behaving Hero who was about as flawless and thoughtful a 1377 Scottish Highlander as they came.
Adding a child to the mix made it worse, further sealing my not-interested opinion of this surprisingly well-written tale of Reluctance at every turn.
Nothing screams romance louder than a toddler running around in almost every scene to jolt the reader out of woo-hoo, eh Moms?
I'm likely to be in the minority here, but why don't authors who truly believe in feminism, modern mentality without question, and Men Just Suck Because... stick to the Contemporary Romance genre, where they are more suited to voice their personal opinion in every chapter and create characters who fully agree with everything the author believes?
Please, kindly stop cramming your modern moral outlook down my throat in your FICTIONAL ROMANCE novels!
I cannot see Fictional Romance written this way (opinion-laden and 21st Century) as being able to stand the test of time, and that is a real shame.
Or, will it still be a 'thing' in 30 years for opinionated strangers to re-write someone else's work to better suit their own moral outlook on life?

16 March, 2018

If I Never Had to do This One Task Again... #MFRWauthor #BlogHop

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Week 11 of the MFRW Author Blog's 52-Week Blog Challenge.

Today's topic is: If I Never Had to Do This One Task Again....

Oh BOY, am I going to get FLAMED this week, but here goes.

Yeah, I hate work as much as the next guy, believe me, and being the Queen of Lazy isn't as easy as it sounds.

I used to be a Teacher and am now a Sub, but my 'love' for the kiddies decreases by the assignment, so to say I wish I never had to Work Outside the House another day of my life is extremely tempting!

Can I just say that if you are raising your child(ren) to believe they are super-special snowflakes, flawless and without guilt or the crime gene, or simply refuse to discipline them, will you please stop it now?


This week, a second grader refused to shut her mouth all afternoon and despite numerous "Please, stop talking when I'm talking" and "Please don't talk when your friends are trying to work" attempts.

Long story short, her table was accused by a nearby table of 'cheating' during a math assignment.

Not by me, mind you!

Another table rose up in arms and shouted at me that Table # kept cheating and re-rolling their die in order to get higher scores in the game.


Chatty became outraged and near tears, stomped up to me, and proceeded to 'hover', even as I attempted to instruct the class on the next assignment.

Here's me, standing in front of the class with a microphone in one hand and a sheet of paper in the other, with this little Miss Entitled standing directly in front of me doing the, "Excuse me," "Excuse me, I wasn't cheating" "Excuse me," "Um, it wasn't me"

No matter how often I reminded her what I said to the class, or asked her to please sit down and forget about it, she refused.

Guilty conscience if ever I saw/heard one (wink)

I turned aside, covered my ears (which, by the way, I warn every class I sub that I have an inner ear issue, and if y'all gets too loud or shout while I'm talking, BAD things happen to me) and tried very hard not to let a migraine form.

She looked even more outraged and shouted, "That is so RUDE!"



I'm the rude one?

Well, at the end of that long, harrowing afternoon, I headed to the office and the secretary stood near the door like an overweight mermaid resting on a sea boulder.

One arm raised above her clutching the door frame, a leg bent at the knee with that foot tapping the floor, and with this "I fully intend to flog you this instant" look on her face.

FIRST thing out of her mouth is, "Excuse me, but, did you raise a hand to one of the students?"

Raise a hand?

As in, strike one?

Um, I'm thoroughly insulted by this question but... to humor you, who are intimidating the hell out of me...

"Of course not," I said.

Eh, long story shortened, long story anyway now shortened...

I was detained for a good ten minutes while the terrifying secretary who so easily and willingly took the side of a 2nd grader over me, who so desperately wanted to believe I would do such a thing... and the female principal who appeared before me later with just as startled a look on her face, both wanting to know if I had inappropriately touched one of the students.


I wanted to walk away and swear I would never, EVER teach again, at least not in a Public school, or at least not at that particular school, or at least not for the rest of the week.

Which I decided on by the time I got home that afternoon.

Little Miss Perfect who did absolutely nothing wrong all afternoon ran to mommy with her tale of woe, so Mommy dragged her darling back into the office to report what she'd heard, and of course, it was all out Crucifixion time for me!

Because there isn't a deceitful, conniving, lying, or guilty child among us in today's perfect world, right?

I have no idea what that child told them, either, but if she said I touched her or hit her, then the rest of her story had to be just as fabricated.

YES, I should have just come right out and said, "Are we talking about the little girl who refused to shut her mouth all afternoon? The one who completely ignored my every attempt to get her to listen and stop disrupting the rest of the class? The one who was accused of cheating by her own classmates? The one who stood well within my OWN personal space and insisted she be heard?"

Is THAT what this is all about?

But, I'm not that person, and I felt like they had already condemned me and took the side of the child, so no matter what I said, them ladies weren't going to listen or believe me.

And, when I get upset, angry, or intimidated, I tend to panic.

My body is frozen, but my mind is like, "This can't be happening," and "Did they just accuse me of abuse?" like being in a state of shock, I guess.

You have no idea how unrewarding and frightening it is to work in this type of an environment today, people.

The staff and educators are treated like would-be pedophiles, all presumed to be guilty without the benefit of a trial and simply because they are adults!

I've actually been 'disciplined' for helping a fallen student up off the playground blacktop once or twice.

It isn't so much about educating the children as it is about seeing which one of us cracks first.

The child has full autonomy over the room, the building, the staff, and other students while the adults are simply there to babysit and bide their time until the blessed bell rings at the end of each day.

Whether a child outright lies to save his own pitiful ass or not, their side of the story is heard, believed, and all anyone else needs to hear before passing judgment.

It's a terrifying, not so great place to work anymore, sadly.


Oddly enough, nothing ever came of the situation, except that I had to spend that night and a restless sleep wondering what sort of vile, untrue email from my employment agency awaited me the following morning.

I never got one and still haven't.

As a matter of fact, my employment agency sent the "Don't Forget to Rate Your Experience" email instead.

(which I have yet to fill out - need a bit more time to cool off)

However, I don't feel safe or out of the woods, yet -- and it isn't from a guilty conscience, believe me.

I heard a man's voice inside that office say, "Disciplinary Action" but never saw him to know what he meant by it... except that I was the only adult being detained at the time.

So, if this does end up becoming a huge, drawn-out deal, it will plunge me into even greater financial ruin as I'll never be able to Sub or Teach again.

I've been around the school system and their inhabitants far, too long to not know a thing or three about children in general, and YES, with my whole heart, I believe it is the Parents responsibility to raise their children and NOT the school system.

If your child's teacher is permitted to tell you there is something wrong, something amiss, and something that needs attention, it should be your job to deal with the issue and not play the blame game or outright deny it is true and take the side of your darling, sweet, completely innocent, "Can't you see this kid's glittering WINGS for gosh sakes?" side of the story.

And, regardless of what you hear on the news, it is far less likely to be the case that an adult is a pedophile or a jerk or a 'snitch' than the Media or your child would like you to believe.

99.99% of people who go into the teaching profession don't do it to 'get back at' children in general, believe me.

They chose the profession because they love the idea of being surrounded by young, impressionable minds, sharing their own knowledge about a subject, and reaping the unsung rewards of watching students succeed or overcome some obstacle in a subject.

Lastly, as a bona fide germ-a-phobe who borders on Monkish tendencies, it is impossible that I would touch an elementary-age child, much less have them touch me.

When it comes to the wee ones, I set personal space boundaries I wouldn't otherwise do in an adult setting.

(When my own children puked, I had my husband deal with it, I am that bad about germs and gross anything).

I always accept hugs, though, because they are great, less likely to spread germs, and give a warm, fuzzy feeling every time.


As much as I wanted to love it, get along with others, and contribute not just my own knowledge but a bit of discipline and love as well, it is becoming increasingly and terrifyingly obvious to me that I don't fit in a Public School environment in this day and age.

I'm not able to abide by belligerent children and perhaps don't deal with their antics as well as the next guy, but I keep telling myself an obvious lie that with time it will all work itself out when that just isn't happening.

If anything, I feel like the environment is getting progressively worse instead.

Each year in a Public School setting brings a fresh, new crop of even less disciplined, even more belligerent, self-important children with zero manners, respect, or decency.

I'm unhappy and miserable a majority of the time, and it isn't because of the kids!

I'm miserable because my hands are tied; because I'm the victim being treated like the criminal, and because I have zero authority over the children or their environment.

Being a well-paid babysitter isn't what I had in mind when I started this profession, and I truly wish there was some way I could go back to the Parochial environment in order to feel useful again.

So, in answer to this week's question:

If I never had to TEACH again, I think I would be happier, a lot more healthy, and blessedly relieved of the unfathomable stress it entails.

As always, I thank you kindly for stopping by and reading my post!

Please scroll down to the LinkyLink tool and click on the next in line to discover what they chose as The One Task They Never Want to do Again!

Blogging is an opportunity for authors to connect with readers. Despite being writers, blogging is an entirely different style of writing and often stumps us. To help our authors blog consistently, thoughtfully and with purpose, Marketing for Romance Writers is announcing the 2018 Blog Challenge. Each week, authors use our writing prompt to create a meaningful blog post. We'll be posting every Friday... join us as often as possible.
All authors with blogs are welcome to participate. 

12 March, 2018

A #review of The Reluctant Alpha by A.K. Michaels

A very brief review of A. K. Michaels' The Reluctant Alpha, Book One of Six in her HighlandWolf Clan series.

Pages -  269
Published - March 20, 2015
Genre -  Shifters, Werewolves, Contemporary Romance
Series -  HighlandWolf Clan Series 1 of 6
Language -  5/5
Sexual Content -  4/5
Narrative - 3rd

Born to be Alpha, Cameron Sinclair walks away from his birthright and Pack. He wants nothing to do with either as he builds his multi-billion dollar business.
When summoned he reluctantly goes to the aid of his Uncle’s Pack. What he finds is danger, intrigue, heartache, and the chance of a different life.
His instinct screams at him to walk away but his heart has other ideas. Come and join the Highland Wolf Clan and find out what’s in store for Cameron and his Highlanders.
Book 1 in New York Times Bestselling Author, A K Michaels' contemporary fantasy romance series full of Alpha males, Highland Wolves and hot Shifters
Read the book that has over 200 five star reviews! Reviewers are calling it “gripping,” “suspenseful”, with “lots of love and action” and a series “I couldn’t put down”!

The Reluctant Alpha (Highland Wolf Clan #1)The Reluctant Alpha by A.K. Michaels
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I really tried, but the filthy language and awful writing forced me to stop after only 25% and I'm not about to apologize for it, either.
Edgy isn't what I look for in a novel of any type, and this was too in-your-face for my liking.
Do some authors think that by dropping F-bombs all over the place, they will somehow look better than their elementary-level writing skills?
Commas wherever, fragments whenever, the word Highland in the title being a complete misnomer, and enough misused, misspelled words to counter the same number of swear words included in this "bad ass" excuse for a Romance.
No thanks.
I just hope this isn't par-for-the-course when it comes to Shifter Romance novels, because sadly, this was the first one I've ever read.

Best-Seller my azz.

Read all my reviews

11 March, 2018

Quake by Tracey Alvarez #ReleaseBlitz #Giveaway

Title: Quake 
Author: Tracey Alverez 
Genre: Romantic Suspense 
Release Date: March 9, 2018 
Cover Designer: Book Covers By Design 

He'll shake her foundations…
Ana Grace is living a single mother's worst nightmare. Separated from her two kids by a catastrophic earthquake, she's trapped in her office building with a man she's only just met. He's a sexy former soldier, and possibly the only man able to help her navigate the dangerous landscape home.
Daniel Calder is tired of failing people he's tried to help, but since Ana is his younger sister's boss, he's caught between a rock and a hard place. That rock keeps shifting under his feet, shaking his determination not to become emotionally involved with another damsel in distress.
But when an unforeseen enemy rises from a city in chaos, Ana Grace and her family are in the crosshairs. There's so much more at stake than just their hearts, and the clock is ticking.

Once on the second floor ledge, Daniel followed her directions to descend another story, where he dropped the last six feet to land catlike on the ground. He brushed a smattering of dust from his shoulder and stalked toward her, a tawny panther of a man. It was a moment that slashed a line in the sand. On one side was Nadia’s brother and the perfect guy to have around in an emergency. On the other side of the line, the one she’d inadvertently stepped over, was simply Daniel. Ana could no longer deny her awareness of him, how he made her blood thrum and heat wash through her body. He stopped close enough that she could count each individual flake of brick that dotted his shirt. Heat blistered off him, carrying his unique scent and the raw sting of fresh male sweat. Her mouth went dry, as if the warmth of his body sucked out all the moisture. “Could’ve done it blindfolded, huh?” The tip of her tongue swept out to dampen lips that trembled under his fierce contemplation. “You might’ve been killed.” Daniel didn’t reply. Instead, he slid a hand along the curve of her jaw. She shivered as his long fingers cradled the back of her head and used them as gentle leverage to pull her off balance. Her hands splayed against his chest, her palms soaking up the heat released from taut muscle. “I didn’t need to see. I had you.” “Daniel, I don’t think we, I mean I—” Her voice contained a huskiness she didn’t recognize. It was like eavesdropping on a stranger. A stranger who wasted her breath by protesting the inevitable.
Copyright © Tracey Alvarez 2018

Tracey Alvarez is a USA Today Bestselling Author living in the Coolest Little Capital in the World (a.k.a Wellington, New Zealand). Married to a wonderfully supportive IT guy, she has two teens who would love to be surgically linked to their electronic devices.
Fuelled by copious amounts of coffee, she's the author of contemporary romantic fiction set predominantly in New Zealand. Small-towns, close communities, and families are a big part of the heart-warming stories she writes. Oh, and hot, down-to-earth heroes-Kiwi men, in other words.
When she's not writing, thinking about writing, or procrastinating about writing, Tracey can be found with her nose in her e-reader, nibbling on smuggled chocolate bars, or bribing her kids to take over the housework.

10 March, 2018

Highland Solution (Duncurra, Book One) by Ceci Giltenan #review

Today, I review Ceci Giltenan's debut novel, Highland Solution, Book One in her Duncurra Series of Three

Pages -  274
Publisher -  Duncurra, LLC; 2 edition
Published -  June 5, 2014
Series -  Duncurra, Book 1 of 3
Genre -  Medieval, Historical Romance, Scottish Highlands
Language -  1/5
Sexual Content -  3/5
Narrative -  3rd

Laird Niall MacIan needs Lady Katherine Ruthven’s dowry to relieve his clan’s crushing debt but he has no intention of giving her his heart in the bargain.
Niall MacIan, a Highland laird, desperately needs funds to save his impoverished clan. Lady Katherine Ruthven, a lowland heiress, is rumored to be “unmarriageable” and her uncle hopes to be granted her title and lands when the king sends her to a convent. King David II anxious to strengthen his alliances sees a solution that will give Ruthven the title he wants, and MacIan the money he needs. Laird MacIan will receive Lady Katherine’s hand along with her substantial dowry and her uncle will receive her lands and title. 
Lady Katherine must forfeit everything in exchange for a husband who does not want to be married and believes all women to be self-centered and deceitful. Can the lovely and gentle Katherine mend his heart and build a life with him or will he allow the treachery of others to destroy them?
Highland Solution is a romance about a married couple and thus contains several mildly explicit love scenes, as one might expect to occur in married life. If you want more steam than that, you might be disappointed. If you prefer to stay out of the bedroom this title is available in an Inspirational version.

If I only reviewed Cover Art, this would get a -1 from me.


The story, however, is another thing entirely and hardly reflects my opinion of the lame book cover.

IN a nutshell, this is about two strangers who are forced together by an arranged marriage, and while both agree the arrangement is far better than they could imagine, their personalities hold them back from becoming friendly, well-adjusted mates any time soon.

He's a wary man and she is lost in a sea of grief and confusion, only to be tossed into another sea of cut-throat, conniving schemery that eventually leads to more mistrust, stupid decision-making, and some questionable outcomes.

There is, however, a HEA.

The reviews at Amazon were all over the place, but I only read the negative remarks and I have to say most of them concur with my own.

And yet I still give this one higher marks than normal because the story itself proved interesting.

I became engaged for the duration, and this having occurred made me also want to read the next in the series.

Now, as for the negative reviews...

The Hero is, indeed, a bit of a bumbling ass, a distrusting, narrow-minded fool, and a childishly temper-tantrum throwing tyrant.


The author seems to know how these types of men behave, because she did a terrific job of characterizing Niall start to finish, and sadly, he finished nearly as badly as he had begun.

It was pointed out several times that Niall suffered from a broken heart and, therefore, did not trust women at all.

"He knew very well what master manipulators women could be."

He had no intention of marrying, much less falling in love again, and yet his spiteful stepmother forced the issue of marriage upon her disliked stepson by squandering his late father's money until the clan was practically impoverished.

The king decreed that Niall marry a wealthy young lady whose abusive uncle wished only to seize her land and holdings, leaving Katherine with a substantial dowry with which to help Niall refill his coffers.

Yes, I had difficulty trying to figure that one out as well.

I didn't much care for Niall, either, but as I mentioned, the author seems to know how these types operate, and I found that a bit fascinating to read.

He was mouthy, stubborn, and distrustful of not just his new bride but his closest companions, his faithful younger brother, and even his council.

A lot of readers had difficulty trying to understand why Niall distrusted Fingal as much as he did, but I thought it was mentioned very early in this story that, because of their shared stepmother (Niall's stepmom and Fingal's birth mother) that Niall had been fed a lot of horse crap from her ABOUT Fingal, but...

Anyway, because of the way Fingal read throughout the story, it was really hard to understand Niall's stupidity about Fingal.

An, "If We (the readers) Can See It, Why Can't He?" kind of thing, I believe.

Again, I know this is hardly the kind of material that works to make a true Romance great, but the way the author wrote this man proved too interesting for me not to just follow along and lap it up.

As for the heroine, Katherine... I had more trouble warming up to her than I did Niall, believe it or not.

Yes, she was abused (horse whipped, even) and had a huge heart (Polly Pureheart) who even saved an adorable, little stable boy (Tomas) from being left behind for her ruthless uncle to abuse by taking him with her and her new husband.

Even more (un)believable about her is the way she spoke, carried herself, and dealt with all of the garbage tossed at her every other chapter.

I just think she read more like a woman in her fifties than a young, early twenties.

It seemed to me as if she was a grandmother or a (modern) mother with college-age children than a young lass in the bloom of life.

Her mannerisms, her speech, and her wisdom far exceeded that of anyone younger than fifty, and it just made me think the author injected herself and her own ideals into the story instead of harking back to her earlier days... to make the character a bit more realistic... believable.

Odd, that.

She knew precisely how to write a disgruntled, one-directional man going on thirty, and yet she couldn't figure out how to write a young twenty female?

I would not label Katherine as being (TSTL) or weak, either.

The author simply chose to have their turbulent relationship be the catalyst for their increasing love for one another, and I don't know that there is anything inherently wrong with that, nor do I find it to be incredulous or insane.

Yes, today's woman would be quick to scream, Divorce! or Run Away! from someone like Niall, but that wasn't an option back in the 1300s, so readers need to DEAL WITH IT or switch to reading contemporary romance and avoid butt-hurt syndrome at every level.

So, I don't like my heroes to be caustic and dumb any more than I want my heroines to give me creepy, way-too-old vibes when I'm reading Romance of any genre.

Let me re-phrase:

I don't like my heroes to be caustic and dumb IF they are not going to learn from their mistakes and CHANGE throughout the course of the story any more than I'd like for the heroines to remind me of my grandmother, or the soccer mom who lives a few doors down from me.


This still proved to be a worthwhile effort on my part, and I think that the author did a terrific job for her debut novel, too!

Very few issues with GPS, although they did crop up near the end.

  • He panted as, his head dropped
  • Her eyes shown with excitement
  • so I will be here with ye here for a while.
  • After Katherine left Niall spent the day
  • would be tragic, if after all this, Malcolm

At least you won't find insta-love, insta-sex, and... well, I was also going to type insta-resolutions but, sadly, a few of those did occur.

Not very noteworthy stuff, but there were a few instances where something cropped up to instigate the masses only to have the problem resolved within a few paragraphs before the next issue arose.

Another 'issue' the negative reviewers harped on had to do with the lack of native vernacular being spoken throughout the story aside from the occasional 'ye' and, to be honest, I wondered about it as well.

I'm still on the fence, though, because I've read overkill and didn't care for it, to include outlandishly spelled names impossible to pronounce (and the author's NEVER bother to give us a head's up going in, either).

I'm not poking fun at Scottish names or their Burr, but it would be helpful if the authors who choose to go full-blown authentic would be kind enough to include a Glossary of Terms right after their Table of Contents.

I, for one, would be grateful.

So, with this novel, it did seem a tad on the modern vernacular side, but that didn't detract from the story or take me out of the time period.

Katherine did that for me -- in the way she behaved, sounded, and thought.

To give you an idea of how I felt trying to relate to her, replace the young lass on the ugly cover with a picture of the author and you will get where I'm coming from.


Okay, so regardless of what I just mentioned, YES, I still found this to be a story worth reading, reviewing, and recommending.

I have the second book in this series and fully intend to read it and discover how our dashing Tadhg (Ted? Tad?) Matheson fairs with his lady love.

I'm also just as anxious for Book Three because, as mentioned already, Fingal MacIan did not receive a fair shake in Book One, and I would like to know that he eventually ends up in Happy Land with some Bonny Lass to keep him warm and comforted through life.

Sadly, the Cover Art for these two are just as bad as with Book One.

To me, it appears as if someone with Photoshop experience super-imposed a regular female dressed in period costume beside a regular male (?) with extensive (photoshopped) cosmetic surgery done to him.

I don't get it!