Wednesday, 15 July 2020

New Release Spotlight and Review: The Casanova Papers by Kate Zarrelli

The Casanova Papers by Kate Zarrelli

Ellie Murphy takes a contract teaching English at a school in Venice. There she meets the sexy, enigmatic Professor Piero Contarini, from an ancient Venetian family, and agrees to help him in his work curating a new edition of the memoirs of the famous seducer, Giacomo Casanova. Taking their task seriously, they start to enact his adventures with each other, ecstatically revealing their own kinks as they do so. But who is watching them from the shadowy alleyways of Venice?

Amazon US           Amazon UK 

There was a time I read many erotic romances but it's a while since I picked one up. Also, I usually prefer to read full-length novels rather than novellas. So, when I read the blurb, for The Casanova Papers, I decided to take a chance, and I so glad I did. 

Frustrated with supply teaching and with no permanent teaching positions available, Ellie Murphy takes a positive career step and accepts a job in Venice. Once in Italy she quickly settles in and isn't long before she's asked to help out Piero Contarini, a professor specialising in eighteenth-century literature. On meeting, it's quickly established Ellie is the perfect person to assist Piero with his biography of Casanova. As they work on the manuscript she also agrees to explore and experience the adventures of Casanova with him. 

The explicit narrative is enhanced by a well thought historical details with protagonists who share an emotional connection. Piero is an intriguing and commanding man, who finds in Ellie, a woman eager to explore his risqué re-enactments whilst discovering her own kinks. He controls their relationship and their shared sexual experiences yet Ellie develops confidence as they connect on both a physical and intellectual level. 
"We have synergy, don't you think?"

Well-paced and written, Ellie's adventure is fascinating as is Piero's, as he comes to realise he wants to share not only his work with her but his life too. The only aspect I didn't enjoy was the mystery, which wrapped up very quickly towards the end and for me an unnecessary inclusion and distraction. 

Overall, I highly recommend this novel to any reader who enjoys erotic novels, especially, one like this with an absorbing plot. Ms Zarrelli's work is new to me, but I'm definitely going to read more of her books. 

***arc generously received courtesy of the publisher eXtasy books***
Kate Zarrelli is the romance and erotica pen-name of Katherine Mezzacappa. Kate is Irish but now lives in Carrara in Northern Tuscany, between the Apuan Alps and the Tyrrhenian Sea, with her Italian husband and two teenage sons. She is the author of Tuscan Enchantment (eXtasy: Devine Destinies). Kate/Katherine writes historical, erotic, feel-good and paranormal fiction, set all over Europe, and in her spare time volunteers with a used book charity of which she is a founder member.

Twitter: @katmezzacappa
Giveaway To Win an Inky black pendant of Portoro marble, with a golden streak at its heart, from the quarries above La Spezia (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

New Release Spotlight: New Rules by Lily Hayden

New Rules by Lily Hayden
Kate Miller has it all; a glittering career, a wonderful home life and a promotion in the bag. She knows the rules for success, and nothing will stop her from getting to where she wants to be.
Ellie Stephens, on the other hand, can’t catch a break; she’s trapped in a vicious circle of dead-end jobs and red-flag relationships until she’s paired with Kate in their company’s brand-new mentoring scheme.
Ellie just can’t seem to get to grips with Kate’s ruthless recipe for success no matter how hard she tries, leaving her wondering if she’s the problem. Two new men in her life, affable-but-mysterious Freddie and Kate’s drop-dead gorgeous ex Liam try to help her muddle through and figure out how to get ahead.
Meanwhile, Kate’s perfect life is unravelling and where once everything she touched turned to gold, it’s suddenly falling apart. Her work nemesis is throwing obstacles in her way at every turn, her home life is in tatters and her first love is suddenly back in her life. Kate is more confused than ever; is it time to break those rules?

Amazon UK           Amazon US 

Lily Hayden writes chick lit with a kick.

Modern day women want modern day heroines and Lily's characters want sizzling romance, rewarding careers and equal partnerships, but like all of us, they face many challenges and it isn't always easy.

A mother to four children, Lily graduated with a degree in Business in her hometown in South Wales and enjoyed a successful career in Financial Services before fulfilling a lifelong ambition to write books.

Her debut novel Butterflies, a heartwarming alternative to the traditional boy-meets-girl story, was released in 2018, reaching readers all over the world and she is the author of five books, including a Young Adult Dystopian novel Project Terra under the alias SJ Woods (because who doesn't love a bit of action and defeating bad guys every now and again).

Follow Lily on social media for the latest releases, promotions and occasional photos of her dogs.

Monday, 13 July 2020

Release Day Spotlight: The Rivals by Vi Keeland

Title: The Rivals
Author: Vi Keeland
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 13, 2020

Excited about Vi Keeland’s upcoming release, The Rivals? Check out this SNEAK PEEK

The feud between Weston Lockwood and me started at the altar.
Only neither of us attended the wedding, and the nuptials happened decades before either of us was born.
Our grandfathers had been best friends and business partners, at least up until my grandfather’s wedding day—when his bride-to-be blurted out she couldn’t marry him because she was also in love with Weston‘s grandfather.
The two men spent years fighting over Grace Copeland, who also happened to be their third business partner.  But in the end, neither man could steal half of her heart away from the other.
Eventually, they all went their separate ways. Our grandfathers married other women, and the two men became one of the biggest business rivals in history.
Our fathers continued the family tradition of feuding. And then Weston and I did, too.
For the most part, we kept as much distance as possible.
Until the day the woman who started the feud died—and unexpectedly left one of the most valuable hotels in the world to our grandfathers to share.
Now I’m stuck in a hotel with the man I was born to hate, trying to unravel the mess our families inherited.
As usual, it didn’t take long for us to be at each other’s throats.
Weston Lockwood was everything I hated: tall, smart, cocky, and too gorgeous for his own good.  We were fire and ice. 
But that shouldn’t be an issue. Our families were used to being at war. There was just one minor problem, though. Every time Weston and I fought, we somehow wound up in bed.

Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared in over a hundred Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twenty-five languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

Author Guest Post and Book Spotlight: Grace & Serenity by Annalisa Crawford

Grace & Serenity by Annalisa Crawford

When I wrote the first line of Grace & Serenity—this time—it was the culmination of many, many years of trial and error, stopping and starting, re-writing, and hiding it away in a drawer. The original story was developed in 2003.
2003! Wow. What were you doing seventeen years ago?
I was pregnant with my second child, I was working in a library, and I’d had a handful of stories published in small press journals—none of which existed by that point. I hadn’t even started to write my first published book—a novella called Cat & The Dreamer—which was two years away from conception, and nine years away from being published.
How life changes. In my case, in an exceptionally long and drawn-out way. As almost every famous person has said in one form or another (seriously, I Googled extensively), “It took me X years to become an overnight success.”
I’m still working on it.
The thing about being successful is you’re always looking for your Big Break. I’ve had 7, so far.
  • My first short story acceptance
  • My first competition win
  • My first eBook contract
  • Self-publishing my first physical book
  • My first contract for a physical book
  • My first big competition success
  • And now my first novel publication
What keeps me writing? Simply the need to put my words onto paper. Even if I knew no one would ever read them, I would not—could not—stop writing. I’ve had extended breaks in the past. When my kids were little and I was getting only a few hours of sleep a night, and all I could do once they were in bed was sit in front of the TV barely able to comprehend what was going on.
That’s one of the reasons, after writing what amounted to only a vague outline of Grace & Serenity back in 2003, I faltered. A couple of years later I edited it. A couple after that, I rewrote it entirely. And that’s the pattern I followed for several years, interspersed with short stories and other novels, honing my craft, and giving myself a better understanding of how to write Grace’s story.
Originally, the narrative occurred over about fifteen years. With each draft, this timeframe was reduced, until the final version takes place in less than two years—for which I’m sure Grace is forever grateful. I’ve put her through some terrible things, and I don’t think she could have lasted if she’d endured them for years. Some characters vanished; others appeared. But, inevitably, it was cast aside yet again.
Each time I was lured back, it was with a sense of dread that I wouldn’t be done with it this time, either. What finally spurred me on was having it rejected for the final time back in 2016, by the publisher of my short story collection You. I. Us. At that point, I shelved it for good, and moved on. Phew!
But, of course that’s not the end of the story…
Over a year later, on an otherwise normal day, I received an email from the same publisher asking me to resubmit—she hadn’t been able to get Grace out of her head, she said, and she’d love to read it again.
I dusted it off, read it, considered it, and threw it on the floor. After all, this was the manuscript she’d rejected, I needed to make severe changes to spike her interest. I picked up my red pen and started scribbling. Ticks, crossings out, question marks, whole sections circled with spidery lines drawn to indicate its new position. I read the entire thing aloud. I cut the scenes into chunks and laid them out on my living room floor, sellotaping them into a new order. And slowly, the novel that exists today took form.
I hope you enjoy it.

Living on the streets is terrifying and exhausting. Grace’s only comforts are a steady stream of vodka, and a strange little boy who’s following her around.

At nineteen, Grace has already had a child and endured an abusive marriage. But she’s also had her baby abducted by her vengeful husband and been framed as a neglectful mother. Even her own parents doubted her version of the story. So she did the only thing that made sense to her—run away.

The streets are unforgiving. Winter is drawing in. And Grace isn’t prepared for the harsh realities of survival. At her very bleakest, a Good Samaritan swoops into her life and rescues her. With a roof over her head and food in her stomach, she longs to see her baby again.

But nothing ever comes for free.

Amazon UK           Amazon US 

Annalisa Crawford lives in Cornwall UK, with a good supply of moorland and beaches to keep her inspired. She lives with her husband, two sons, and dog.
Crawford writes dark contemporary, character-driven stories, with a hint of the paranormal.
Over the years, she has won several competitions, and had many short stories published in small press journals and online. Highlights include being placed 3rd in the Costa Short Story Award 2015 and being longlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and Bath Short Story Award in 2018.

Cover Reveal: The Banjo Book Two by Elaine Spires

The Banjo, Book Two by Elaine Spires

The 1970s. Zany fashions brought the Decade That Taste Forgot. Change is in the air. Decimal currency; the Common Market; widespread strikes; the Winter of Discontent; IRA bombings; the sale of Council houses and quickie divorces make their mark on the whole country including the community of the Banjo. The eight households who live in Cromwell Close experience births, deaths, marriages, shocks and surprises but as the 70s become the 80s and beyond Dagenham undergoes great transformation. The once close-knit Community is changing.

Amazon UK           Amazon US 
Publication Date: 21st August
Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine's keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels. Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series - Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea.  Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series.  Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019.  Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019. Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.

Twitter: @ElaineSWriter
Instagram: elainespiresauthor

Saturday, 11 July 2020

New Release Spotlight and Excerpt: A Cornish Daisy's Kiss by Laura Briggs

A Cornish Daisy’s Kiss by Laura Briggs

Weeks after boarding a train to Paris in pursuit of her writing dreams, aspiring novelist Maisie Clark is right back where she started: on the idyllic shores of Port Hewer in Cornwall, luggage in hand and heart filled with anticipation for what lies ahead. Except that nothing seems the same as Maisie left it, from her place among the staff at the hotel Penmarrow to her budding romance with groundskeeper Sidney Daniels, who isn’t quite ready to overlook the painful consequences of her sudden departure.

Losing Sidney would be unbearable, but Maisie can’t help fearing it might be true if the rift between them proves too deep to heal. She knows her feelings for him are unchanged, but whether he feels the same remains to be seen—particularly since she stopped him from expressing them in the first place. And to make matters worse, her position at the Penmarrow has been filled by another, there’s nowhere for her to live in the village, and her savings are finally dwindling to a pathetic number – with her book still unpublished after her startling discovery about the author helping guide her towards success.

But one thing which hasn’t changed is the drama and excitement at the hotel Penmarrow, where the staff is awaiting inspection from the dreaded owner Ms. Claypool. Stirring up trouble in the meantime is the owner’s special guest ‘Mad Ludwig’, an eccentric architect whose demands are definitely driving everyone on the staff a little crazy. And then there’s the hotel’s mysterious new desk manager, whose behavior ignites Maisie’s suspicions and causes her to become entangled in yet another form of intrigue—one that could unwittingly jeopardize the future of the Penmarrow and everyone who works there, unless Maisie can find a way to undo the harm.

With everything that matters to her most at stake this time, Maisie faces her biggest challenges yet...and her deepest question of the heart as she confronts the reason she returned to Cornwall and the Penmarrow in the first place.

Thanks so much to Ellesea for this chance to share a glimpse of book six in my ‘A Little Hotel in Cornwall’ series with her lovely readers. Titled A Cornish Daisy’s Kiss, it continues the adventures of amateur writer Maisie Clark in the seaside village of Port Hewer. The scene below finds Maisie attempting to help her former co-workers at the hotel Penmarrow deal with a difficult new guest.

The architect was in the thick of this chaos, a grown-up child with a giant connect-the-dots book spread out on the marble floor. Blue pencil lead on his fingers, a fat carpenter's pencil tucked behind one ear of a prematurely-white cloud of hair. Beak-like nose and serious, squinting eyes made him look slightly like an eagle crouched over his prey, one armed with a long measuring stick and a geometry compass.
"Tea on the table," he ordered Riley, who was bringing in a tray as I held the door for him, to make myself useful and sneak a peak at the much-whispered-about hotel guest. "There, by the door. There are no grounds this time? No little bits for my tongue?" His thick accent was easier to understand when his voice rose — the cloud of white hair around his face floated electrically, making me think of the stereotypical 'mad composer.' Maybe that's how Ludwig really earned his nickname.
"I'd swear it on my life," said Riley. "Shall I take away your, er, lunch?" He pointed towards the tray of untidy dishes piled high by the door — half-eaten sandwiches and pastries, coffee cups in need of a wash. I gathered the architect wasn't fond of interruptions.
"Who is that?" Ludwig pointed to me. "The stranger — she is not allowed, understand?"
"Sorry," I said, meekly. "I was just helping." Me not in a staff uniform was a dead giveaway that I was just a curious tourist peering into the creative mind's private work space.
"No outsiders, you understand?" he repeated to Riley, fiercely. "I must protect my work. It is imperative that no one sees it — in Genoa, spies copied my designs, copied my genius, my grand design. I can never forgive that it would happen again, you understand —"
"Okay, okay, out she goes," said Riley, ushering me away and closing the door as the architect returned to his crouching, drawing, and muttering, without giving any attention to the fresh pot of tea beside his pile of dirty dishes.
"I didn't realize he was so sensitive or I wouldn't have offered," I said to Riley. Truthfully, I was eager to help out just to have something to do with myself between bouts with my book, and all my various doubts chasing each other like squirrels in my head.
"He's nutty as me gran's Christmas pudding," snorted Riley. "Always afraid some unknown opponent's stalking him. He goes on and on about some rival ripping off his design for a Russian mansion or the like. If you ask me, he's imagining it. Who wants to steal drawings of a ruddy gold swan, for crying out loud?"
"Maybe the architect Ms. Claypool didn't hire?" I suggested. "Trying to sneak into consideration if Ludwig doesn't finish his design?"
"Then he'd better hurry, because we'll all be old and gray by the time our esteemed guest finishes his version," answered Riley, as we went through to the main foyer again.

Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller 'A Wedding in Cornwall'. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.

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