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Archive for December, 2013

I know people often say we tend to look back through rose-coloured spectacles, but there was definitely something wonderful about Christmas in the 1950s. Maybe it was because the preparations didn’t start months ahead or it wasn’t one big consumer-fest but, whatever the reason, it just seemed a magical time.

We didn’t have a lot of money then. My dad was a plumber and my mum a housewife like most women in the 1950s, but they always made Christmas extra-special for my older brother and myself.  I remember we never decorated the tree until Christmas Eve and the room trimmings were paper chains which came in kit form which we loved making.

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We had an artificial tree which was decorated with coloured baubles and tinsel. It’s hard to believe now that we actually put real candles on it. They were put into candle holders that clipped onto the branches of the tree.

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On Christmas Eve we always left a glass of sherry and a mince pie for Father Christmas and, of course, the next morning, the contents of the glass and the mince pie had disappeared. We didn’t have proper Christmas sacks then and so a white pillow case was left at the foot of the bed. I remember waking up on Christmas morning and seeing the misshapen pillow case and knowing that Father Christmas had been. It would be filled with all sorts of goodies…

Annuals – my favorite was School Friend Annual
An Enid Blyton Famous Five book
A magic colouring book and brush
A dress up doll book
A net of chocolate coins
Games like Snakes and Ladders and Tiddly Winks
A Cadbury’s Selection box
A tangerine

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It’s strange to think that parents today think nothing of spending hundreds of pounds on presents for their children. I often wonder if their children get as much pleasure from these expensive presents as we did from our simpler ones.

Christmas lunch was always turkey with all the trimmings…roast potatoes, parsnips,sprouts, carrots and homemade parsley and thyme stuffing followed by Christmas pudding and custard.

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My dad always insisted on buying a huge 21lb fresh turkey. When I say fresh, I mean fresh. He used to go to a local farm where you actually went into the pen of turkeys and selected the bird you wanted. It was then dispatched by the farmer and handed over complete with feathers and innards! I remember my dad taking me with him one year but it was scary being surrounded by all those gobbling turkeys.

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My poor mum spent ages plucking said turkey but the worst thing was digging her hand inside to take out all the giblets etc. They smelt dreadful but mum boiled them up to make a delicious stock for the gravy.

The Queen’s first Christmas message was broadcast in 1957 and, for many years afterwards, like so many other families, we would gather round the television at 3:00pm to listen to her annual message. Now when I say television, this is what I mean!!

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We were always so full after Christmas lunch that we never wanted much at teatime, maybe some sherry trifle and a slice of Christmas cake, both made by mum.

I have so many happy memories of those magical 1950’s Christmases. Do you have any special memories of Christmas past?

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MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947) starring John Payne, Maureen O’Hara, Edmund Gwenn and a very young Natalie Wood.

Such an enchanting feel-good movie with lots of humour and charm. I like the 1994 remake but, for me, it has never quite equalled the magic of this classic movie.

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A DANGEROUS INVITATION BY ERICA MONROE

Source: Bought from Amazon Kindle

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(The Rookery Rogues #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Official Blurb

One fatal mistake cost Daniel O’Reilly the woman he loved, spiraling him toward drunken self-destruction. Now sober, he’ll have to prove he’s innocent of the murder he was accused of two years ago. But pistol-wielding Kate Morgan hasn’t forgiven his sins.

Torn from her privileged existence by her father’s death, Kate Morgan has carved out a new independent life in the Ratcliffe rookery as a fence for stolen goods. Daniel’s invitation to assist him jeopardizes her structured existence. Yet Kate can’t resist his touch, or the wicked desires he stirs within her.

As their renewed passions grow reckless, their investigation takes them through the darkest and most depraved areas of the City. To catch a killer, they’ll have to put secrets behind them and trust only their hearts.

After reading an interview with debut author, Erica Monroe on Rogues Rakes and Romance:

http://rakesroguesandromance.com/2013/12/19/please-welcome-debut-author-erica-monroe-with-her-release-a-dangerous-invitation/

and an article by the author on Ella Quinn’s blog

http://ellaquinnauthor.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/debut-author-erica-monroe/

I knew that I had to buy this book.

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Mel has a great review of the exciting debut book from Erica Monroe. I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t rush and download like I did!

bookworm2bookworm's Blog

ADI EMSTORY: One fatal mistake cost Daniel O’Reilly the woman he loved, spiraling him toward drunken self-destruction. Now sober, he’ll have to prove he’s innocent of the murder he was accused of two years ago. But pistol-wielding Kate Morgan hasn’t forgiven his sins.

Torn from her privileged existence by her father’s death, Kate Morgan has carved out a new independent life in the Ratcliffe rookery as a fence for stolen goods. Daniel’s invitation to assist him jeopardizes her structured existence. Yet Kate can’t resist his touch, or the wicked desires he stirs within her.

As their renewed passions grow reckless, their investigation takes them through the darkest and most depraved areas of the City. To catch a killer, they’ll have to put secrets behind them and trust only their hearts.

REVIEW: I honestly don’t know where to begin with this review. Do I start with my praise of it, tell you…

View original post 429 more words

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WICKED LITTLE SECRETS BY SUSANNA IVES

Source: Received from the author in return for an honest review

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Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

It’s Not Easy Being Good…

Vivacious Vivienne Taylor has finally won her family’s approval by getting engaged to the wealthy and upright John Vandergrift. But when threatened by a vicious blackmail scheme, it is to her childhood friend that Vivienne turns; the deliciously wicked Viscount Dashiell.

When Being Wicked is so Much More Exciting…

Lord Dashiell promised himself long ago that his friendship with Vivienne would be the one relationship with a woman that he wouldn’t ruin. He agrees to help her just to keep the little hothead safe, but soon finds that Vivienne has grown up to be very, very dangerous to all of Dash’s best intentions.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

WICKED DESIGNS BY LAUREN SMITH

Source: Received from the author in return for an honest review

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(League of Rogues #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb

The League of Rogues takes what they want—but have they taken on too much?

For too long Miss Emily Parr has been subject to the whims of her indebted uncle and the lecherous advances of his repulsive business partner. Her plan to be done with dominating men forever is simple—find herself a kind husband who will leave her to her books.

It seems an easy enough plan, until she is unexpectedly abducted by an incorrigible duke who hides a wounded spirit behind flashing green eyes.

Godric St. Laurent, Duke of Essex, spends countless nights at the club with his four best friends, and relishes the rakish reputation society has branded him with. He has no plans to marry anytime soon—if ever. But when he kidnaps an embezzler’s niece, the difficult debutante’s blend of sweetness and sharp tongue make him desperate for the one thing he swears he never wanted: love.

Yet as they surrender to passion, danger lurks in Godric’s shadowed past, waiting for him to drop his guard—and rob him of the woman he can’t live without.

Product Warnings:
This novel includes a lady who refuses to stay kidnapped, a devilish duke with a dark past, and an assortment of charming rogues who have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

CYNDERS & ASHE BY ELIZABETH BOYLE

Source: Bought from Amazon Kindle

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Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb

Note: This is a short story (less than 10,000 words) and not a novella. Ella Cynders is a hired companion with a romantic bent. So when she switches places with her charge–who is determined to find true love and elope–it is Ella who falls head over heals in love with the very eligible Viscount Ashe. In one masked night, the viscount and Ella find passion and romance, and then tragically are whisked apart before the midnight unmasking. Now five years later, Ella has once again found a way to steal inside the coveted ball, but can she rekindle the magic they found together before her deception is unmasked? This short story was originally published in The Mammoth Book of Regency Romance and in print is 33 pages long.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

THE COUNTESS CONSPIRACY BY COURTNEY MILAN

Source: Bought from Amazon Kindle

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(Brothers Sinister #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

Sebastian Malheur is the most dangerous sort of rake: an educated one. When he’s not scandalizing ladies in the bedchamber, he’s outraging proper society with his scientific theories. He’s desired, reviled, acclaimed, and despised—and he laughs through it all.

Violet Waterfield, the widowed Countess of Cambury, on the other hand, is entirely respectable, and she’d like to stay that way. But Violet has a secret that is beyond ruinous, one that ties her irrevocably to England’s most infamous scoundrel: Sebastian’s theories aren’t his. They’re hers.

So when Sebastian threatens to dissolve their years-long conspiracy, she’ll do anything to save their partnership…even if it means opening her vulnerable heart to the rake who could destroy it for good.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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Kindle Edition

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Official Blurb

Two ladies. Two dukes. One Christmas. And scandal galore.

A Christmas anthology by two hot names in historical romance fiction…

Merry Christmas, Mrs. Robinson by Delilah Marvelle

Lady Jane left her father, the Earl of Chadwick, and the ton behind to experience life on the stage. After a disastrous marriage, the widow is living on the edge of poverty, determined to guard her heart, when a secret admirer from her past demands a second chance.

Shy and retiring Martin Nicholas Pierce, the Sixth Duke of Somerset, has carried a torch for Lady Jane since her youth, but he is five years her junior. When she married another man, he left for Europe, determined to put her out of his mind. After returning to find Lady Jane free, he vows to replace the memories of her cursed Twelfth Night with a new beginning.

The Twelve Days of Seduction by  Màire Claremont

Alexander Hunt, Eighth Duke of Berresford, is aware his ward’s governess isn’t quite what she seems. Although Miss Flint is beautiful and intelligent, she misrepresented herself to gain employment, and he threatens to give her the sack mere days before Christmas.

Desperate to convince the sexy duke not to tear her from the little girl she’s grown to adore, Adriana challenges him to seduce her before the Twelve Days of Christmas have come to an end, although she fears it may cost her heart. Alexander accepts the challenge, unconcerned that he has as much to lose, if not more, than the delectable Miss Flint.

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REVIEW OF MERRY CHRISTMAS, MRS ROBINSON BY DELILAH MARVELLE

Once again, Delilah Marvelle captivated me with this touching and sensual friends-to-lovers/ older woman/younger man story.

I adore Martin. I couldn’t help but feel for the shy, reserved seventeen year old, whose self-esteem took a battering from the father who thought his son “was good at nothing but breathing”.  Now he is a confident man who decides his own future and is determined to pursue the woman he has always loved.  He is kind and compassionate and his love and concern for his great aunt Ernastine is so heart-warming.

“The way you fuss over this old woman is rather endearing. It makes me feel worthy.”
His chest tightened. “You are worthy.”

Jane felt betrayed and used by her late husband when she discovered that he had lied about being Mister X.  She gave up the opulent life of an opera singer and, for the past eight years, she has been living a simple life teaching children how to sing and being a Good Samaritan to others. Then one day while shopping, she sees a face from the past…Martin.

How could she ever forget what had once been her dearest and closest friend?

I loved watching their romance unfold …the initial awkwardness, Jane’s reactions to the ‘breathtaking’ man Martin has become, shared memories, Jane’s mistrust, Martin digging his heels in, heated kisses, Martin’s revelation and Jane’s hurt, heartfelt words, Jane’s uncertainty, some straight talking…

“Look at me and remember who it is you are looking at. It isn’t Philip, or Mister X, but me. Me. Martin. Your friend. First and foremost, always your friend. Lover last.”

and some steamy passion.

I loved how Martin brought about a healing of the rift between Jane and her father and their reconciliation scene tugged at the heartstrings. I adored Martin’s great aunt Ernastine…such a delightful character and so wise as well. I liked Martin’s brother, Christopher and was amused by the scene where he gives Martin some much needed advice on how to woo Jane.

Epilogues are my weakness. They are the icing on the cake when it comes to happy endings and this story had an Epilogue which left me with a satisfied smile on my face.

Favourite romantic quote

She had at long last found her twin flame and only wished she hadn’t been so blind to see he had been hers all along.

 

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING:  HOT

 

REVIEW OF THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS BY  MÁIRE CLAREMONT

I loved this story of a Duke and governess falling for each other. It’s by an author that I was lucky enough to discover earlier this year, when I read her brilliant debut novel The Dark Lady.

I admired Adriana. She had literally pulled herself out of the gutter, reinvented herself and secured a respectable position as a governess.  The years of struggle have made her strong and determined and I love how she draws on that strength and refuses to be cowed by Alexander when he threatens to throw her out.

She was safe here. She had a place. A home. A little girl to love and who loved her in return. Oh, no. She wasn’t simply going to skulk away.

Adriana had found happiness for the first time in her life…a place to belong. I could understand why she is willing to stay as Alexander’s mistress but I was pleased that Alexander doesn’t get everything quite his own way. I loved her for being willing to put Alexander and Georgiana first even though it means sacrificing all her hopes and dreams.

Beneath that austere, ducal façade, Alexander has a kind and loving heart.  It is clear he loves his crippled daughter very much and wants to protect her from the harsh realities of life…their scenes together are so poignant. Through Adriana’s novels, he comes to understand the harsh reality of her earlier life, why she lied and realises he has found the true Adriana, ‘a woman who deserved admiration and praise’. He sees how Georgiana has blossomed under Adriana’s love and patience.

I enjoyed seeing him lose control when it comes to his feelings for Adriana and his willingness to stand up for her when it counts.  I love the scene where Rothby turns up at the Twelfth Night Revels, with the intension of causing trouble for Adriana, but finds himself completely outmanoeuvred by Alex.

Once again, my wish for a heart-warming Epilogue was more than satisfied.

Favourite romantic quote:

“Because I love you, Adriana Flint. You. The author. The girl who survived the streets. The governess who reached out to my daughter. And the woman who seduced my soul.”

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

This book was the perfect holiday treat…two enchanting, romantic short stories by two of my favourite authors.

 

Read December 2013

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I’m thrilled to reveal the gorgeous cover for WHAT A DUKE DARES, the third book in Anna’s Sons of Sin series….

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(Sons of Sin #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb

A REPUTATION AT RISK

What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that’s who. She’s known Camden Rothermere since they were children-and she also knows she’d bring nothing but scandal to his name.

Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can’t stop her. Then her brother’s dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he’d finally gotten over.

The only way they’ll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they’re married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed-until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins . . .

(Release date: Tuesday, 26th August 2014, Grand Central Forever)

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