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Archive for October, 2015

I’m delighted to welcome Award Winning Author MANDA COLLINS to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thank you so much for inviting me, Carol.

~~~~~~

R&R:
Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Manda:
I was born in Mobile, Alabama, best known for its mention in the Bob Dylan song “Stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again.”  For someone who wanted a life of culture and excitement it was perhaps not the most exciting place to live.  But I managed.  And once I’d spent some years away I was ready to move back for good.


With my mother, circa 1982.


With my Great Great Aunt Alida , my grandmother’s aunt – circa. 1980. She was a wonderful lady and fostered my love of love of reading and writing. She died before I got published but she’d have been tickled pink.

R&R:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Manda:
I’m laid back–almost to a fault. It takes a lot to make me really angry.  But when I finally snap, watch out!


R&R:

When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Manda:
Sweet, definitely.


R&R:

What is your most treasured possession?

Manda:
A photograph of me with my mother taken a couple of years before she died.


R&R:

If you were able to afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Manda:
Once Upon a time I would have said England or Scotland or Wales, but now that I’m older and like the comforts of home,  then I’d say somewhere on the Alabama Gulf Coast, like Gulf Shores, AL. Sugar white sands rushing surf, and a hammock to while away the day in.


Gulf Shores, Alabama


R&R:

Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Manda:
That would have to be the time I fell crossing King’s Road on a college trip to London.  It was a rather serious injury that meant staying a few days in hospital before being flown back home for surgery. What I remember about the fall itself was that one moment I was walking and the next I was flat on my back on the zebra crossing and the driver of the car that had just stopped was convinced he’d hit me somehow.  Of course he hadn’t.  And despite the pain and the stress of it, it was actually quite an adventure to see that side of England and I met lots of lovely people at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

~~~~~~

Manda, thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself.

Thanks again, Carol, for having me. It’s been a real pleasure.

 

If you would like to find out more about Manda and her books, here are the links:

Website

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter

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(The Merridew Sisters, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

She ran from a brute…

Fleeing violent tyranny, Prudence Merridew escapes with her beautiful younger sisters to London. One of them must marry—and fast. To act as her sisters’ chaperone, Prudence invents a secret engagement to a reclusive duke…But when the duke arrives unexpectedly in London, she needs his help to avert disaster.

…into the arms of a rake

Aristocratic Gideon, handsome, rakish and with a strong frivolous streak, casually hijacks Prudence’s game, awarding himself a stolen kiss or three along the way. Used to managing sisters and elderly men, Prudence is completely out of her depth with a charming, devious and utterly irresistible rake. And her plot goes terribly—if deliciously—awry…

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Wonderful, witty and romantic, I loved the first book in this series and it certainly won’t be my last Anne Gracie. She writes with a great insight and understanding of human nature and, notwithstanding the darker elements of this story, this is a beautifully written, charming and extremely humorous love story.

The Merridew sisters have escaped their tyrannical grandfather after years of physical and mental abuse. Their goal is to marry off Charity, the second eldest of these delightful siblings. Prudence has always been the surrogate mother of the family after the tragic death of their beloved parents. She was the one who suffered the worst treatment at the hands of their grandfather leaving her self-esteem is at an all-time low. The reason she was the main butt of her grandfather’s cruelty becomes clear later in the story.

Prudence embroils herself in all sorts of scrapes trying to explain the appearance of her family in London. They arrive at the home of their great uncle Oswald, the younger brother of their grandfather, who is the antithesis of his brother, being kindly, loving and eccentric. He immediately agrees to launch the eldest two girls into society, but he is a stickler for propriety and will not allow Charity to appear until her elder sister is ‘fired off’. Prudence has her own reasons for not wanting to be married and devises a scam involving Edward, Duke of Dinstable, a man she has never met. Feeling safe from the duke, who hasn’t been seen in society for many years, she tells her uncle they have been secretly engaged for more than four years. Disaster strikes when the said duke arrives in town and Prudence must somehow stop her Uncle from calling on him to persuade him ‘to do the honourable thing’! Her problems only snowball from this point on.

The comedy of errors continues when Prudence arrives at Edward’s home to explain and beg for his complicity in her lie and to assure him she is not attempting to trap him into marriage. Unwittingly she explains to the wrong man and Edward’s cousin, Gideon, a rake and confirmed bachelor, is highly and comically amused, and utterly captivated by the plucky little Prudence. He sees a beauty, invisible to most, and there follows a brilliantly funny interchange between these two characters talking at cross purposes. Prudence does not realise she is not talking to Edward and Gideon very quickly realises what is happening and ruthlessly exploits the situation, initiating her into the joys of kissing.

The rest of the story follows at a fast pace with some sad, poignant moments but also some hilariously uproarious interactions between Gideon and Prudence, whom he renames ‘Imp’ deciding her name is totally inadequate to her nature; he much prefers ‘Imprudence’. There is also a comical and entertaining scene between Gideon and great uncle Oswald where Gideon unwittingly becomes betrothed to Prudence. However, not unhappy about the situation, Gideon does his best to make it fact. His complete and utter belief in Prudence’s beauty – the phrase “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” comes to mind – and his fear that every other man will try to take her away from him is endearingly sweet and funny and proves that this rake has fallen completely under her, albeit unintentional, spell. He becomes her champion and protector whether she wishes it or not. Gideon has his own demons to slay but in the process of falling heavily for his Prudence his strong loveable and honourable character emerges, in short, Gideon is the perfect hero.

5 plus stars for a wonderfully funny, sad but poignant read. This is pure entertainment and Gideon is one of those heroes I will not forget.

REVIEW RATING: STELLAR 5/5  STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

The Merridew Sisters series (click on the book cover for more details):

The Perfect Rake (The Merridew Sisters, #1) by Anne Gracie The Perfect Waltz (The Merridew Sisters, #2) by Anne Gracie The Perfect Stranger (The Merridew Sisters, #3) by Anne Gracie The Perfect Kiss (The Merridew Sisters, #4) by Anne Gracie

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Lisa Kleypas’s long-awaited historical COLD-HEARTED RAKE is finally here!

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

A twist of fate…

Devon Ravenel, London’s most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl’s three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon’s own.

A clash of wills…

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she’s ever known?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Lorraine Heath never disappoints and I’m looking forward to reading this new series.

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(The Hellions of Havisham, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

In the first in a dazzling new series, New York Times bestselling author Lorraine Heath introduces the Hellions of Havisham—three charismatic rogues destined to lose their hearts…

After six unsuccessful Seasons, Miss Minerva Dodger chooses spinsterhood over fortune-hungry suitors. But thanks to the Nightingale Club, she can at least enjoy one night of pleasure. At that notorious establishment, ladies don masks before choosing a lover. The sinfully handsome Duke of Ashebury is more than willing to satisfy the secretive lady’s desires—and draws Minerva into an exquisite, increasingly intimate affair.

A man of remarkable talents, Ashe soon deduces that his bedmate is the unconventional Miss Dodger. Intrigued by her wit and daring, he sets out to woo her in earnest. Yet Minerva refuses to trust him. How to court a woman he has already thoroughly seduced? And how to prove that the passion unleashed in darkness is only the beginning of a lifetime’s pleasure?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

 

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I am delighted to welcome back USA Today Bestselling Author of Historical Romance, LILA DIPASQUA, to celebrate the re-release of her Fiery Tales novel, A MIDNIGHT DANCE, complete with a gorgeous new cover!

To celebrate it’s (re)release, A MIDNIGHT DANCE is on sale for a limited time at just 99 cents!

You can read my review of A MIDNIGHT DANCE  HERE

♥♥♥♥♥♥


A Historical Tidbit

Long before Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, there was a writer by the name of Charles Perrault. He was the author of The Tales of Mother Goose, and the father of fairy tales who started the beloved genre. Perrault lived in seventeenth-century France during the reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Louis was a lusty king. And his glittering court was as salacious as it was elegant.

During this most wicked time period, Perrault created his fairy tales from folklore he’d heard many times, stories that have delighted people for centuries: Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots, and Bluebeard—to name a few.

A MIDNIGHT DANCE is based on his most famous fairy tale of all . . . Cinderella. We don’t know what the original tale was like. Or what specific changes Perrault made to it. But perhaps, just perhaps the original story went something like this . . .

(Fiery Tales series)

Available Oct. 26, 2015

ISBN: 9780988035058

Inspired by the tale of Cinderella, a steamy historical romance that offers a glass slipper, a dangerous deception, and an impoverished beauty determined to find her handsome prince…and make him pay.

Born into wealth, Sabine Laurent and her twin sister lived a life of luxury, their father’s prestigious theater frequented by royalty and aristocracy alike. And Sabine dreamed of her own prince charming–the devastatingly handsome Jules de Moutier.

That was before the loss of her sister and her family’s fall from grace–a disaster Sabine blames on the Moutier family. Now, with her father’s death, she’s inherited his sizable debt and the responsibility of caring for his spoiled long-time mistress and her two wastrel daughters. But with the help of Sabine’s eccentric friends–the balance of her father’s acting troupe–she plans to get very close to her old infatuation, seduce the rake–and make away with a fortune.

Resisting Jules’s skillful mouth and tantalizing touch is not as easy as Sabine supposed. And soon she must decide whether her desire for vengeance is greater than her desire for her one and only prince…

Praise for A Midnight Dance:

“Evocative, erotic. . . [A] sensual treat!”
— SYLVIA DAY, #1 New York Times Bestselling author

“This fresh and sexy retelling features a spirited heroine, a dangerous “dark prince,” sizzling passion and plenty of historical intrigue!”– RT Book Reviews

“A deliciously dark hero and a heroine who’s more than a match for him! Sure to delight!”– JENNIFER ASHLEY, New York Times Bestselling author

“Lila DiPasqua’s ‘Fiery Tale’ version of Cinderella sets the classic story ablaze!”– ANNA CAMPBELLl, award-winning author.

The book is available from:

Kindle B&N Kobo iBooks Print

ABOUT LILA

Lila DiPasqua is a USA TODAY bestselling author of historical romance with heat. She lives with her husband, three children and two rescued dogs and is a firm believer in the happily-ever-after. You can connect with her on:

Goodreads Facebook Twitter

Be sure to sign up for her 99ȼ New Release Alert newsletter on the home page of her WEBSITE

Each new release will be on sale for a short time only. Get notified!

 

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Tell me your three favorite fairy tales. One lucky commenter wins a…

The Giveaway will close at midnight (GMT) on Saturday 31st October and the winner will be announced on Sunday 1st November.

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(Rules for the Reckless, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

The third searing novel in the Rules for the Reckless series by Meredith Duran, the USA Today bestselling author of sexy and evocative Regency romances in the tradition of Sarah MacLean.

Catching the Lady Red-Handed

Born to a family of infamous criminals, Lilah Marshall has left behind her past and made herself into the perfect lady. Working as a hostess at Everleigh’s, London’s premier auction house, she leads a life full of art, culture, and virtue. All her dreams are within reach—until a gorgeous and enigmatic viscount catches her in the act of one last, very reluctant theft.

Chasing One Red-Hot Passion

Christian “Kit” Stratton, Viscount Palmer, is society’s most dashing war hero. But Kit’s easy smiles hide a dark secret: he is haunted by a madman’s vow to destroy anyone he loves. When his hunt for the enemy leads to Everleigh’s Auction Rooms, he compels Lilah to help him. But one tempting touch may be their undoing—for what Kit needs threatens all Lilah holds dear, and losing her may destroy Kit.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This is my first Meredith Duran book and I enjoyed the intriguing story, intelligent writing, fascinating characters and sensual love story.

This is book 3 in the series but can easily be read as a standalone.

I love Lily’s character. She’s intelligent, tenacious, ambitious and courageous. We see it in her determination to fulfil her sister’s dream and make a better life for herself; in the hard-work and self-discipline needed to become a perfect lady; in her desire to earn an honest living as a hostess at the prestigious Everleigh’s Auction Rooms. I like how she holds her own in the initial verbal battle with Christian and I love the knife throwing scene where she certainly comes out on top!

I had mixed feelings about Christian. I liked the rakish, flirtatious side we see in his interactions with Lily but he also has a darker side. He is obsessed with finding and killing Bolkhov, the madman responsible for his brother’s murder and now threatening the lives of his mother and sister. I didn’t approve of the way he is prepared to use Catherine Everleigh as an innocent pawn in his plans. I thought this was particularly reprehensible given he knew full well what would happen to her if she fell into Bolkhov’s hands.

I enjoyed how Ms Duran develops the romance between these two… the witty banter, the heady attraction, the smouldering kisses and the desire and passion that burns between them.

 One of the highlights of the book for me is the developing friendship between Lily and the previously obnoxious Catherine Everleigh. Here are two women who refuse to be constrained by what society expects of them. Both are strong, capable women and I love how they use their own abilities to outwit the villain.

I was intrigued by Nick O’Shea, Lily’s ruthless uncle and infamous ruler of Whitechapel and it will be interesting to see how Ms Duran redeems him in the next book, LUCK BE A LADY. Pairing him with “Ice Queen” Catherine Everleigh should definitely prove interesting!

MY VERDICT: This was a very enjoyable book and I will certainly be looking to read more by Meredith Duran.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALTY RATING: WARM

Read October 2015

Rules for the Reckless series (click on the book covers for further details):

 Your Wicked Heart (Rules for the Reckless, #0.5) by Meredith Duran That Scandalous Summer (Rules for the Reckless, #1) by Meredith Duran Fool Me Twice (Rules for the Reckless, #2) by Meredith Duran Lady Be Good (Rules for the Reckless, #3) by Meredith Duran Luck Be a Lady (Rules for the Reckless, #4) by Meredith Duran

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I’m delighted to welcome New York Times and USA Today bestselling author LUCINDA BRANT to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

It’s wonderful to be here, Carol! Thank you for inviting me along. 🙂

~~~~~~

R&R:
Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Lucinda:
I was born in Penrith, NSW, Australia. Which today is considered an outer suburb of Greater Sydney. But when I was growing up it was a semi-rural community at the foothills of the Blue Mountains. There were lots of orchards, dairy farms, and horse paddocks. I remember the day the town got its first set of traffic lights.

I lived on a dirt road for most of my childhood, where the only phone was a walk up the hill to a phone booth. Our house was on a large block, and we had two sheep to keep the grass mown. We also had chickens, ducks, and a vegetable garden. My maternal grandparents lived four houses away, and two of my mother’s sisters and their families also lived in the same street, so I had plenty of cousins as playmates. We had incredible freedom to run about from house to house, and to ride our bikes about the neighbourhood for hours.

When I was four and my sister two, our parents took us to Scotland to visit my paternal grandparents. In those days you travelled by boat, and it was a six-week sea voyage. I remember a great deal about that trip because it was so far removed from my everyday life back in Australia. I remember going to the beach in Scotland, and wondering why we were put into coats and gloves. My idea of the beach was hot sand, sunshine, and everyone in their swimming costumes.

My grandparents owned the Tobacconists and ice cream parlor in the town, and of course my sister and I were treated to ice cream everyday. The photo is of me, my sister and our grandmother sitting on the steps that led up to my grandparents’ flat above the shop.

R&R:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Lucinda:
Can I say both? 🙂 I think I’m easy-going, but my family would say there are certain things that I am unwavering about – cleanliness, tidiness, everything having a place. I cannot function in chaos and mess. I always have a well-ordered desk. I’m a Virgo! What can I say? 🙂 So I guess in this respect I am not easy-going.

R&R:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Lucinda:
Both. I love to cook savoury dishes, such as Indian, Italian, Turkish etc. But I love to eat dessert when I’m out, because I don’t make sweet dishes at home.

R&R:
What is your most treasured possession?

Lucinda:
My wedding rings: Engagement Ring, Wedding band, and Eternity ring. My husband and I designed them, and selected the stones. I had the sapphire set into the band so it would lie flat and not catch on anything (ever the practical Virgo). Over the thirty years we have been together, many people have commented on the unusual design and how the rings have a slightly Ancient Egyptian look to them. The tiny sapphire ring on the thin gold band you see in the photo I also wear with my wedding rings as it is the ring my husband gave me when we were first dating, and he was a poor PhD student!

R&R:
If you were able to afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Lucinda:
Anywhere in the world? Well, there are three places that instantly spring to mind—London, Bath, and Edinburgh. And if it came to the crunch, I’d pick Edinburgh! 🙂 But hubby doesn’t like the cold, and I’m the one with the UK passport, not him. So, the next best thing would be Hobart, Tasmania, where we intend to move in the next couple of years, once he’s retired. It is the most beautiful Australian city, small enough to walk everywhere, culturally vibrant, with sandstone Georgian buildings, a picture postcard setting, and the best cafes and eateries. And it’s located on the most beautiful island, too! As for the cold weather, well, hubby will just have to rug up! 🙂

R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Lucinda:
I had to dig into the deep recesses of my memory (because who wants to remember such moments?) to find one. It was in the US, where I lived for several years after I was first married. I was at a comedy festival with my husband. A stand up comedian picked me out of the audience (which was enough of an embarrassment as it was), and as he took me up on stage he whispered, “Just go along with whatever I say”. That immediately set off alarm bells for me! Next thing he announces to the audience that he’s found the only virgin in the audience. OMG I was horrified. He then proceeded to ask me in front of the packed theatre, “Isn’t that right. You are the only virgin in the room.” To which I responded rather indignantly and directly (which Australians excel at): “Do I look like a virgin to you?”. He was left tongue-tied and I got the biggest laugh and applause of the night. Someone even asked me later if it was a set up. But I was mortified. I can laugh about it now—just.

~~~~~~

Thank you for taking time out to be here today, Lucinda, and sharing these interesting facts about yourself.

Thank you for asking me some very thought-provoking questions, Carol. It’s been a pleasure. 🙂

 

 

If you would like to find out more about Lucinda and her books, here are the links:

Website
Pinterest
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

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When I finished reading LADY BE GOOD, I had to buy this book!

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

( Rules for the Reckless, #4)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

Romance sizzles between a famous heiress and an infamous crime lord in this fourth sexy novel in the Rules for the Reckless series from the USA Today bestselling author of Fool Me Twice.

The Wallflower

They call her the “Ice Queen.” Catherine Everleigh is London’s loveliest heiress, but a bitter lesson in heartbreak has taught her to keep to herself. All she wants is her birthright—the auction house that was stolen from her. To win this war, she’ll need a powerful ally. Who better than infamous and merciless crime lord Nicholas O’Shea? A marriage of convenience will no doubt serve them both.

The Crime Lord

Having conquered the city’s underworld, Nick seeks a new challenge. Marrying Catherine will give him the appearance of legitimacy—and access to her world of the law-abiding elite. No one needs to know he’s coveted Catherine for a year now—their arrangement is strictly business, free from the troubling weaknesses of love. Seduction, however, is a different matter—an enticing game he means to ensure she enjoys, whether she wishes to or not…

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I recently read the prequel novella and this promises to be a delightful and entertaining series.

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(Moonlight Square, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Romance is in the air at Moonlight Square ~ Regency London’s most exclusive address! 

Jason Hawthorne, the Duke of Netherford, made it clear to the young, lovesick Felicity Carvel long ago that nothing could ever happen between them. He has earned his reputation as the Duke of Scandal–and she’s his best friend’s little sister. For honor’s sake, he vows to stay away from the lovely innocent. But six years of the wealthy libertine’s life have left Jason empty and jaded, while Felicity has blossomed into a strong, beautiful woman, ripe for love and marriage.

When a sudden windfall makes her one of the most sought-after heiresses in London, chased all over Town by fortune-hunters, Jason knows he must keep the rogues at bay until her brother returns from his dangerous mission abroad. Unfortunately, the scandalous attraction between them has only grown to a searing intensity. Deep down, Felicity still wants Jason for her own. But after getting her heart broken once before by Naughty Netherford, does she dare attempt to play with fire again–and this time, can Jason resist?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Although this is not traditional Historical Romance, I decided to add it to my bookshelf because I have always enjoyed Nicola Cornick’s writing. (expected publication date 5th November 2015)

Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review

Genre: Timeslip

Cover Blurb:

London, 1662:
There was something the Winter Queen needed to tell him. She fought for the strength to speak.
‘The crystal mirror is a danger. It must be destroyed – ‘
He replied instantly. ‘It will’
.

Ashdown, Oxfordshire, present day: Ben Ansell is researching his family tree when he disappears. As his sister Holly begins a desperate search, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to an ornate antique mirror and to the diary of Lavinia, a 19th century courtesan who was living at Ashdown House when it burned to the ground over 200 years ago.

Intrigued, and determined to find out more about the tragedy at Ashdown, Holly’s only hope is that uncovering the truth about the past will lead her to Ben.

For fans of Barbara Erskine and Kate Morton comes an unforgettable novel about three women and the power one lie can have over history!

♥♥♥♥♥♥

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