Archive for January, 2014


Genre: Historical Romance (Georgian Era – 1790)

Cover Blurb

Secrets, scandal, and passion…

Selina Rosewall had given up on love, but while helping her brother further his merchant fleet business, she meets Sir James Mitchell, Lord of Penventen. Their attraction is mutual, but what James wants from the relationship goes further—much further—than Selina could have expected. And she learns that in the world of the Ton, scandal and deceit are commonplace.

For Sir James Mitchell, Lord of Penventen, it’s hard to say which is more dangerous: being a spy or being considered husband material by the Ladies of the Ton. With political machinations threatening to draw England into the violent wake of the French Revolution, the last thing James expected was to fall in love with Selina Rosewall, daughter of an untitled seafaring family. But when James’ investigation stirs up a hornet’s nest, can he protect Selena from danger that threatens her very life?

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

MOONSTONE OBSESSION is Elizabeth Ellen Carter’s Historical debut novel and I loved this charming romance with an intriguing historical setting.

James and Selina are such a delightful couple. James has all the qualities of a wonderful hero… handsome, kind, intelligent, witty, honourable and protective of those he loves. Selina is bookish with a love of painting and drawing and a taste for political tracts and business newsletters.

The love story between these two is tender, passionate and romantic. I like how, from the initial attraction, their relationship develops gradually…friendship, talking and discovering how much they have in common. Their falling in love seemed natural and inevitable.

He was fulfilled in a way he never thought possible just six months ago, and all because of this remarkable young woman by his side.

But now she wasn’t alone. She was one half of a whole and James knew her. She was still learning to rely on his strength.

I enjoyed seeing James and Selina work together to uncover the traitor and especially loved the way in which Selina’s drawing ability and knowledge of French played such an important part.

The love scenes are deliciously sensual and one of my favourites is where Selina is washing and she doesn’t realise that James has entered the room. Of course, it is too much of a temptation for James to resist helping her…

Her feet shifted and her hips swayed, chasing the sponge with small movements as it washed across her belly and then hips before its fluid warmth slid across her thatch of curls.

There is quite an array of secondary characters including American Toby Jackson, James’s friend and confidante, the cheating and conniving Lady Abigail and the iniquitous Viscount Canalissy. My favourite is the straight-talking Lady Margaret, James’s grandmother…

“Very well…If you marry Abigail, I’ll disinherit you as the idiot wastrel progeny of your easily led father and your avaricious, vacuous, social-climbing mother.”

I enjoyed the way in which Ms Carter incorporates real historical people like William Pitt into the story together with the fictional character of Sir Percy Blakeney.

Revolutionary France provides a fascinating backdrop to this tale of intrigue, danger and suspense and the carefully researched historical details lend the story realism. I love Ms Carter’s writing style; it flows smoothly and her vivid imagery made it easy to picture the scenes.

When she moved, smaller bows in the same color fluttered and danced like butterflies across the expanse of pleated fabric on the skirt.

Lines of liquid gold shimmered hypnotically on the waves falling toward the shore.

There is also some delightful dialogue.

This was a very impressive debut novel and I will certainly be reading more of Ms Carter’s books.



Read January 2014
My sincere thanks to Elizabeth Ellen Carter for providing me a copy of her book in return for an honest review.


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The Trouble With Sin (Devilish Vignettes, #2) – FREE ON KINDLE!

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(Wicked Widows #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Society often makes strange bedfellows—and even more surprising betrothals…


In Why Earls Fall in Love by Manda Collins, young widowed Georgina Mowbray is settling into her role as Lady Russell’s companion quite well—until the lady’s nephew Dominic, the Earl of Coniston, arrives in Bath for a visit. Georgie’s always found him shallow and too smooth, and trusts him as much as she trusts most men…which is to say, not at all. But Con turns out to be more intriguing than she remembers—and completely irresistible…


Pretty, practical Georgie is nothing like the women Con usually woos—especially since she seems blind to his charms. But his elderly aunt is so fond of her that Con is determined at least to be sociable…with the occasional flirtation thrown in just for fun. But things take a serious turn when a dangerous figure from Georgie’s unhappy past appears and threatens to bring her harm. Con will do whatever it takes to keep Georgie safe. And if he can show her that all men are not menaces, he might be able to keep her in his arms and never let go…

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I’m THRILLED to welcome the fabulous TESSA DARE to Rakes and Rascals today and she has graciously agreed to answer a few questions.

Thank you so much for having me here, Carol!


Tessa, ROMANCING THE DUKE releases today and it is the first book in your eagerly anticipated new series, Castles Ever After. Can you tell us what inspired you to write this series?


To be honest, I think this series partly originated in my addiction to HGTV! (That’s the Home and Garden television cable channel in the US.)  I love watching and living vicariously through other people’s house hunts in exotic locales, or their extreme renovation projects.  It struck me that inheriting a castle would be both the ultimate coup in home ownership, and at the same time, a formidable challenge.On a more serious note, however, it’s no secret that I like to write heroines who enjoy a bit more autonomy than the average Regency girl.  In those times, for a young, unmarried woman to inherit property would have been a remarkable thing—with the potential to be truly life-altering.  Once I’d thought of the idea, I fell in love with the many possibilities and responsibilities that could change a heroine’s life.


What research did you have to do for the series?                    


The research for this series was a dream!  Poor me, I had to go all the way to England and traipse about the country,visiting from one castle to the next – and even staying overnight in some of them!  The most memorable was one of the Northumberland castles I used as inspiration for ROMANCING THE DUKE, Chillingham Castle.  It’s supposedly the “most haunted castle in Britain” – and you can stay there overnight.  So I did.  All by myself!  It was pretty creepy, I’ll admit –but I lived to tell the tale and write the book. Of course, I did plenty of reading and researching online after coming  back home, too.  But poking around old turrets and torture chambers was much more fun.


Can you tell us a little about the hero and heroine of ROMANCING THE DUKE?


Absolutely!  Isolde Ophelia (“Izzy”) Goodnight is the daughter of a beloved author, Sir Henry Goodnight—and in fact, as a girl, she was a character in his stories, The Goodnight Tales.  Now that her father has died, Izzy has been left with nothing, and she relies on the kindness of her father’s many fans. The only problem is, they still see Izzy as the little  girl from their favorite stories.  It’s a role it seems she’ll be stuck playing forever, without a home of her own—until one  day, she receives an inheritance from her godfather.  It’s a castle.  A remote, crumbling, castle in Northumberland that  is possibly haunted, definitely infested, and currently occupied—by a reclusive, wounded duke.

This brings us to Ransom Vane, the Duke of Rothbury.  Ransom was gravely wounded several months ago, and he has hidden away in decrepit Gostley Castle—an old family holding—ever since.  Scorned and scarred, he wants nothing more to do with the world, and most especially nothing to do with an attractive, spirited young woman who claims the castle is now hers.  Since neither of them is willing to leave, Ransom and Izzy agree to share the castle until they unravel the knot of legalities—but of course, in the meantime, their hearts (and limbs) get hopelessly entangled.


What are you working on at the moment?   


Right now, I am working on the second book in the Castles Ever After series, called SAY YES TO THE MARQUESS.  Clio, the heroine of this book, has slightly better luck than Izzy in that the property she inherits is a lovely, well-kept castle set in the picturesque, rolling countryside of Kent.  What she has in common with Izzy is the problem of a stubborn, attractive man bent on upsetting all her plans.


What is the hardest part of writing a book for you? 


Oh, all of it.  I have yet to find the “Easy button” for this novel-writing thing.  For every book you see on the shelves, I probably wrote another one (or two) that I threw away in disgust. Just ask my editor.  But even though it’s never easy for me, it’s the best job I could imagine.   


What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing.


Reading is an easy answer, of course. Also spending time with my family and friends.  I like to take nice, long walks in pretty places, too, and I’m fortunate that I can do that all year round here in Southern California.


I loved the innovative book trailer for your Stud Club series.  Are we likely to see any further book trailers? 


Actually, on New Year’s Eve, I posted what I think will be my last video from the Dareling Room.  It’s not really a book  trailer – just a bit of messing around. But it was fun to make.  The problem is, the darelings are getting older now and  outgrowing their toys!  They’re on to computers and video games and outdoor sports.  Photographs of a gaming console don’t make for exciting book trailers, unfortunately.   However, it was fun while it lasted, and I love knowing I’ll always have those videos as a sort of time capsule of my kids’ room.


If you were stranded on a desert island and managed to salvage three books what would they be and why? 


These are the kinds of questions that give me nightmares!  The pragmatist in me would probably reach for my Norton anthologies of World, English, and American literature – just for the sake of sheer volume, even though I suspect that’s cheating.   The joker in me wants to bring “How to build boats” and “Wilderness Survival 101.”   Strictly on sentimental value, though – I think the three books I feel most close to would be Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Little Women.


One final question Tessa. Is it possible that we might see more Spindle Cove books one day or maybe a Christmas story? 


It’s entirely possible!  I hesitate to make any specific promises, but I definitely have not stopped thinking about Spindle Cove and its characters.  I would love to have an excuse to revisit some (or all) of them.

Tessa, I know you have a busy schedule and so thank you very much for taking the time out to answer my questions.

 It was my pleasure, Carol! Thank you so much for inviting me to visit.


From Tessa’s website:

In the first in Tessa Dare’s captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love….

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens.
She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.
And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales
are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

Order the book from:

 Barnes & Noble
 The Book Depository

Also available in Large Print from HarperLuxe.



Making your escape already?” he asked dryly. “Can’t even last one night?”

She turned, gathering the open neck of her nightrail with one hand. There the duke stood, not five paces away, still fully dressed. Apparently, he’d been awake. And walking. That must have been the sound she heard—his footsteps, brushing over stone.

“No, I … I’m not escaping at all.” She tried to sound breezy. “I just couldn’t sleep.”

“Too scared, I gather.” He slid a flask into his coat pocket.

“Too excited,” she lied. “I’ve inherited a whole castle, and I’ve barely seen any of it yet. I’m keen to explore.”

“In the dead of night? Return to your chamber. You can’t traipse about the place in the dark. It’s not safe for you.”

She moved to his side. “Do you mean to join me, then?”

“That’s not safe, either,” he muttered.

Nevertheless, he put a hand on the small of her back, following close as she left the great hall and began to climb the stairs. At the top of the staircase, she turned down the corridor, retreating toward her chamber. She thought.

“See?” he said. “You’ve already turned the wrong way.”

Izzy stayed quiet, determined not to admit fault. “I’m not lost. I’m exploring.”

He made a disbelieving noise.

“I’ll be fine. I’m not afraid of rats. The bats are gone for now. And I don’t believe ghosts are real.”

“Do you believe I’m real?” he asked.

If she were honest, Izzy had her doubts. He seemed so larger-than-life. Even she, with her wild imagination, had never dreamed up anyone quite like the Duke of Rothbury.




Tessa has a SIGNED copy of ROMANCING THE DUKE to give away to one lucky commentator.




Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of eleven historical romance novels and four novellas. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award and multiple RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Awards.  Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.

Mixing wit, sensuality, and emotion, Tessa writes Regency-set romance novels that feel relatable to modern readers. With her bestselling “Spindle Cove” series, she had great fun creating a fictional seaside community populated by women who defy the conventions of their time—engaging in such unladylike pursuits as medicine, geology, and artillery. And she had even more fun dreaming up the strong-willed, unsuspecting men who find their hearts ensnared by these unlikely heroines. The strong yet quirky heroines and sexy heroes continue in her all-new “Castles Ever After” series, launching in 2014.

A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she shares a cozy, cluttered bungalow with her husband, their two children, and a big brown dog.

Join Tessa on Facebook or Twitter

Visit her website to find out more about Tessa and her books: http://tessadare.com/

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“I respect you,” he murmured. “and your views. I think of you as an equal. I respect your brains, and all those big words you like to use. But I also want to rip your clothes off and have sex with you until you scream and cry and see God.”  (Jack Travis)

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All you have to do is answer the following questions:


1. Which novel are you currently reading?

2. What is the opening line of the book?

3. What are the hero and heroine’s names? (on the remote chance you’re not reading a romance, give the name of the main character).

4. Turn to Chapter 9 and give us the sentence that starts on or about the 22nd line.

5. What’s next on your TBR pile?


Here are my answers:

1. MOONSTONE OBSESSION by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

2. Captain Francis Armsden stood erect, hands behind his back. The rocking movement of the two-masted brigantine grew more violent as the storm built up over the Celtic Sea.

3. Sir James Mitchell, Lord of Penventen and Selina Rosewall.

4. Over tea, while the lady continued a letter she had started that morning, Selina took up her own scrutiny of James’s grandmother once more.

5. ROMANCING THE DUKE (Castles Ever After, #1)  by Tessa Dare

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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.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

**4.5  Roguish Stars**


I really enjoyed WICKED DESIGNS, Lauren Smith’s debut Regency Historical novel. This witty and entertaining romance features an emotionally scarred hero, a smart heroine and a loveable group of rogues.

Emily is a delightful heroine. She is smart, courageous and spirited enough to stand up for herself. I love her determination to outwit her captors and escape. She certainly keeps those five rogues on their toes!

Emily rammed an elbow backwards into her attacker’s stomach and began to wrestle free until he grabbed her arm. She swung about, striking him across the face with a balled fist. The man staggered back, leaving her free to dive inside the coach.

I enjoyed seeing her not only capture Godric’s heart but also the affection of the other members of the League of Rogues as well.

Godric is my favourite type of hero…arrogant and self-assured on the outside but hiding a wounded heart. His childhood experiences have made him avoid becoming emotionally involved and so he is unprepared for the feelings that Emily arouses in him. I enjoyed watching him gradually open up to the belief that love was possible.

He could never regret each kiss, each second that Emily’s touch reawakened the ghost of the man he used to be.

I LOVED the other four rogues Ashton, Cedric, Charles and Lucien. They didn’t seem like secondary characters because each one has his own distinct personality. I enjoyed the camaraderie between them and the sparkling dialogue. It’s apparent that Lucien and Horatia, Cedric’s sister, have a history and I’ll be intrigued to read their story.

Blankenship is creepy and menacing as the lecherous villain and I am not quite sure what to make of Miss Evangeline Mirabeau, Godric’s former mistress. Friend or foe? I’m not quite sure.

Favourite Romantic Quote

 “Emily, I know you won’t marry me. I know that. But I can’t live one more day without you. All I ask is that wherever you go, whatever you do, let me come with you. We can travel the world. Whatever you want, it will be yours. I just wish to be with you.”

WICKED DESIGNS is a delightful romance and a great introduction to what promises to be an excellent series.




 Read January 2014

My sincere thanks to Lauren Smith for providing me with a copy of her book in return for an honest review.

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