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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Today's Special - - Manda Collins

We'd like to welcome Manda Collins as our special guest today.  Manda is celebrating the release today of How to Entice an Earl, the third book in her Ugly Ducklings trilogy.  All three of Manda's books have been garnering rave reviews, including a 5 star review from PJ for her second book, How to Romance a Rake and a RT Reviewers' Choice Awards nomination for her debut, How to Dance With a Duke.  If you haven't read Manda's books yet, now's a great time to start! 

You can find more information about Manda's books at her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Welcome, Manda!






How to Push a Boundary
By Manda Collins

Since my first book, How to Dance with a Duke, opened with the heroine being forcibly kept out of a gentlemen only establishment, it should come as no surprise to you, gentle reader, that I harbor a deep dislike for institutions that discriminate against women. (And for that matter, anybody the proprietors might deem unworthy to pass through their hallowed doors.)

I think this probably goes back to the seething resentment in my pre-pubescent heart when I was, as a girl, not allowed to be an Altar Boy lo these many years ago. Of course now they’re called “Altar Servers” and girls are totally allowed. (Hence, the change from “boy” to “server.”)  But that was my first encounter with being denied something solely on the basis of a fact about myself I could not change.

Surprising to no one who recalls that women got the vote less than 100 years ago, the Regency Period was also less than accepting of women in places that were deemed only suitable for men.  Though it was perhaps freer than the Victorian period would be decades later, Regency England still endeavored to keep women—especially ladies—out of spots where the men in power thought they did not belong.

In my latest Ugly Ducklings story, How to Entice an Earl, Maddie runs into the same sort of nonsense when she desperately needs to visit a gaming hell for research purposes only and none of her male acquaintances will agree to take her. Because, as they reason, such places are not suitable for an unmarried young lady of gentle breeding. For someone as resourceful as Maddie, however, a little thing like a refusal is hardly going to stop her. All it takes is a bit of sibling blackmail…



As you may have guessed, I love reading about women who rattle the cage and buck the system and fight the power…and so on and so forth. One of my favorite heroines is Loretta Chase’s classic Lord of Scoundrels. In fact, pretty much all Loretta Chase heroines resist the roles society imposes on them.  Do you have a favorite “I Am Woman Hear Me Roar” romance heroine? Do tell! Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

One commenter will win a copy of How to Entice an Earl! (Open 
internationally.)



Manda also has an interview today at www.kissandthrill.com.  Drop by and leave a comment for another chance to win How to Entice an Earl.  


105 comments:

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    1. I've read it too and agree. It's wonderful!

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    2. Thank you so much, ladies! And thank you to the Dishes for having me! I love it here!

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  2. I do like a feisty heroine but my mind as blank at the moment, I suppose I better get woke up before I get to work, or better yet before I get behind the wheel of a car! I am so glad the release date is here. Congrats again.

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    1. Please do wake up before you get in the car. ;-)

      Happy Birthday, Dianna! Hope you have a wonderful day!

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    2. Thank you, Dianna! I can sympathize! I definitely need more coffee this morning!

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  3. I liked Stephanie Tompkins in Cindy Gerard's book LAST MAN STANDING. She puts up with a lot as she goes to rescue her friend and childhood crush Joe Green.

    I also liked "Kick a$$: Sydney who had to deal with Josh Steele in Sherrilyn Kenyon's B.A.D. ATTITUDE.

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    1. I have the Cindy Gerard book on my tbr. Need to find some time to read this one!

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    2. Ooh! Those both sound like some serious tough gals, Laurie! I'll have to check them out!

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  4. I recently read an older Christina Dodd western, Wild Texas Rose. Rose, the heroine, can out horse and out shoot any man and she doesn't hestitate to put the hero in her crosshairs. It's not as well developed a book (it's really a novella) but it was pretty funny. Manda, all the best on your new book! xo

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    1. Hi Thea! Thanks for stopping by. You know, I think that may be the only Christina Dodd book I haven't read.

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    2. Thanks, Thea! That novella sounds like fun! I didn't even know Christina wrote a western! I'll have to track it down!

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  5. Congrats on your new release Manda! I have so many feisty heroines going my head but I can't for the life of me remember names. The story I am thinking of was where the heroine wanted to enter a gentlemen only book store and she was pretty peeved about not be able to browse the store. There was a book she wanted displayed in the window. Maybe after I have some more coffee this morning, I'll remember - lol.

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    1. Right there with you, Suzy. So many heroines but none are jumping out at me right now. Maybe waking up a little more will help. ;-)

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    2. Ooh, Suzy! That does sound familiar. It's not Julia Quinn's THE SECRET DIARIES OF MISS MIRANDA CHEEVER is it? For some reason that's what comes to mind. Regardless she sounds like my kind of heroine! Sounds like we all need some coffee here. Stat!

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    3. Oh Manda I think you're right - it was Miranda Cheever! For some reason I kept thinking it was one of Laura Lee Guhrke's Girl Bachelor heroines.

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  6. Manda!!! Welcome, my dear! So glad to have you here today on your release day. Congrats and I can't wait to pick this one up. :)

    I, too, like Jess from Chase's LOS. In fact, I read it for the first time a few months ago! Personally, I don't mind a feisty heroine, but I don't care for the all-out feminist type. I think some things are better left to men. I guess I'm old fashioned that way. *g*

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    1. Thank you for having me, Andrea! It's great to be here! And OMG, Jess is the best. I love everything about that book. How they meet looking at naughty jewelry. How she shoots him;) Loretta Chase just does so many things right. It's a great novel!

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  7. Welcome, Manda! So great to have you back with us to celebrate another new book. I've loved these cousins and their heroes. I know you're working on a novella for a secondary character from the Ugly Ducklings trilogy. Do you have any info you can share with us yet? Any idea when the story will be released?

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    1. Thank you so much, PJ! I can't believe it's release day again already!

      Well, the novella is about...wait for it...Amelia Snowe! It's in the editorial process right now, but I can tell you that after some setbacks in her own life, Amelia finds herself in the unhappy position of having to work for a living. Which brings her into contact with a former beau. I do not have a release date for it yet. But I would guess in about three or four months. The novella will bridge the Ugly Ducklings trilogy with my new trilogy. It's called, btw, THE PERKS OF BEING A BEAUTY.

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  8. I think since they are fresh in my mind the heroines of Maya Banks scottish historicals are awesome. Have a great day ladies

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    1. Haven't tried Maya Banks' historicals yet. I suppose I need to remedy that! Thanks for coming by! :)

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    2. Manda you must, the are amazing. Strong female characters. I know you will love them.

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  9. Jessica Trent (Lord of Scoundrels) is my favorite, too. Heather Snow's heroines are both independent and scientifically saavy, which is wonderful to read. Thanks for a fun post.

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    1. Yay! Another Jessica Trent fan!

      Ooh, I have been meaning to try Heather Snowe's books but haven't gotten around to it. She was my debut sister since her first book came out around the same time as mine. And I've heard great things about her writing. I'll add her to the teetering TBR pile! Thanks for the reminder:)

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    2. Manda, you most definitely have to read Heather Snow. Love her!

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  10. I like Christina Dodd's heroines and Heather Snow's heroines are all pretty great too!

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    1. Yay! Another mention of Christina Dodd and Heather Snow! Thanks, May!

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  11. Congrats on your new release Manda!
    I am not sure, if the heroine in Lisa Kleypas´ amazing novel "Dreaming of You" is feisty, but she is doing some research in the beginning of it for her book. Lovely romance, wonderful heroine and a hero to dream about...
    I am really looking forward to read your book!

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    1. Oh! I love Dreaming of You, Serenissima! It's one of my all time favorite romances. And I think any lady who has the guts to stand up to Derek Craven counts as feisty:) Thanks for coming by!

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  12. I'm so looking forward to reading part 3 in the Ugly Ducklings' series--I've really enjoyed it so far! I think the heroines from Maya Rodale's 'Writing Girl' series buck the system. All of them write columns and articles for a newspaper--unheard of during the Regency period. Not only that--people LOVE their writing! Plus they keep writing after they get married!

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    1. OOh, Alisa! I've heard some great things about that Maya Rodale series. Have you seen her video about the danger of women writing? Great stuff! I need to check them out, it sounds like!

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    2. Yep! :) Loved it!

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  14. I am currently reading The Seduction of Elliot McBride by Jennifer Ashley. Juliana St. John was jilted at the alter. She decided then and there to marry her best friends brother, Elliot McBride so that her wedding guests would still get to see her married! From there the story only gets better and better. What a woman!!

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    1. Juliana St. John sounds like a strong character to me, Betty! Jennifer Ashley is great, isn't she? I'll add THE SEDUCTION OF ELLIOT MCBRIDE to my list:) Thanks for coming by!

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    2. This one is on my tbr, Betty. I'm thinking I need to move it up the list!

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  15. Congratulation on the release of How to Entice an Earl, Manda. I love the book, and I applaud the independent, stubborn heroine--but ah, the hero! :)

    Jessica Trent is one of my favorite heroines too, but if I'm limited to one strong, determined heroine, I'll cast my vote for the one who is a prototype: Sophy Stanton-Lacy in The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer.

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    1. Thank you so much, Janga! I know you fell for Christian from the moment he stepped on the page. I only hope I did him justice.

      You know, it's been so long since I read THE GRAND SOPHY that I might need to read it again to refresh my memory. IIRC she shoots her hero too, doesn't she?

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    2. Sophy is even more outrageous, Manda. She shoots the secondary male lead in order to promote his romance with the hero's sister. She also does all manner of other things females were forbidden to do. She really does set the pattern for many of the independent-minded heroines who followed her.

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  16. Congrats on the new release, Manda! When I think of feisty heroines, I always go back to Garwood's historicals. Especially the medievals. Those women made the Regency and Victorian Misses look liberated!

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    1. Thank you so much, Terri! I haven't read a Garwood in years and years but her heroines do sound feisty. Might need to revisit some of them so I can refresh my memory!

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  17. Congratulations on the new book! It looks like a good story. I do enjoy heroines in historical romances who don't accept their place. Meredith Duran and Joanna Bourne write some heroines like that.

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    1. Thank you, Maureen! I agree with you about Meredith Duran and Joanna Bourne's heroines. They are indeed buckers of the system!

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  18. oh, one other feisty heroine to try out is Breathless by Anne Stuart - this hero is SO bad, such a scoundrel. But he marries a Rohan, the daughter of other very notoriously bad nobles. It's a bold book but I did laugh when he got his.

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  19. Good point, Thea! I have read Stuart's Rohan books and you're right. Though if that's the book I remember I didn't care much for the hero. He was a little too dark, even for my tastes.

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    1. Stuart took that guy to the wall. a step farther...

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  20. Read it, loved it! Even in Books 1 and 2 when Maddie was a secondary character you knew she'd be the one who bucked society the most.

    I remember the first time my mom pulled me aside and said I couldn't run around the backyard with my brothers and friends without a shirt on anymore. I was stupified! "Why?" I demanded. "THEY aren't wearing shirts!"

    "Because you're a girl."

    Have hated the phrase ever since, even though now I appreciate what she was doing. :)

    My love of independent heroines came from my teen years and Jane Austen's female characters. Also Victoria Holt novels. Usually impoverished gentile women who were hired to be a governess somewhere and tackle the big, bad world (and hero.)

    Best of luck on sales, Manda!

    Everyone is welcome to stop by www.KissandThrill.com today--Manda answered some crazy interview questions. Commenting there too doubles your chances on winning a copy of her novel.

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  21. I'm afraid I haven't read you yet but your series sounds wonderful and something I'm sure I'd enjoy. I try not to pick favorites lol. Usually the book I'm reading at the moment is all I can think of but I definitely like strong heroines.

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    1. I understand not being able to keep up with favorites, Catslady! I read so many that it's hard to keep track of them all!

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    2. Catslady, I highly recommend Manda's books!

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  22. Sarah!!!! *high fives* My Victoria Holt sister! Those were the only "romances" my high school library had so I gobbled them up! I loved the ones (and there were a ton that did this) where the heroine was a student in a girl's boarding school and met and fell in love with some minor German prince who happened to be skulking around in the woods. And he'd marry her and imprison her in his castle and she'd have to run away etc. Good stuff!

    Do stop by the interview, everyone! There is a gratuitous cat picture!

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  23. I've got to read How To Dance With A Duke, but I can't wait to read How To Entice An Earl! All of the heroines in the Hellions of Halstead Hall series by Sabrina Jeffries were fairly feisty! I particularly liked Maria in The Truth About Lord Stoneville!

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    1. I am so behind in my Sabrina Jeffries reading, Cerian! Writing seriously cuts into my reading time. But those do sound like fun. And from what I recall of her OTHER heroines, I can imagine that the Halstead Hall heroines like to push the envelope:) Thanks for commenting!

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  24. Would it be weird if I say Samantha Jones from Sex and the City? She was the first 'I am woman hear me roar.' heroine that popped into my head. She may not be a conventional heroine, but she is my favorite! :-)

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    1. Not weird at all, Chelsea. Samantha is her own woman and definitely pushes the boundaries!

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    2. Totally understand, Chelsea! Samantha is very much an independent woman who knows what she wants and will buck the system to get it. (And she'll buck other things too;) Heh. Great choice!

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  25. Congratulations on your new release, Manda! I've already bought my copy because I can't wait to read it, so need to enter me in the contest. I love this kind of heroine! There are so many wonderful examples, but I recently finished The Duchess War by Courtney Milan. Talk about boundaries! Her heroine, Minerva Lane, was beaten by an angry mob for pushing boundaries. In the interest of not spoiling that book, I'll just say go read it to find out why!

    Manda, I love your stories and your voice. Power to the Ugly Ducklings!

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    1. Carey, I have The Duchess War on my Kindle. I love Courtney's writing and have been looking forward to reading this one. You've just moved it to the top of my waiting list!

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    2. Thank you, Carey! Now you've got me curious about THE DUCHESS WAR! I was already, of course, because Courtney always creates fascinating characters, but now I'm doubly curious! Thank you for loving the Ugly Ducklings! They are my tribute to wallflowers everywhere! Huzzah!

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  26. Eek! I meant NO need to enter me!

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  27. Congratulations on the release of HOW TO ENTICE AN EARL. I hope release week is very successful.
    I like heroines who stand up for themselves and press on even when the odds are against them. Julie Garwood does write good heroines in this vein, but they are a bit softer than many of the "kick ass" ones out there. Strength in women is often looked down upon and giving it a softer touch gets it across in not as confrontational a way.

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    1. Thanks, Pat! And one of the cool things about romance now is that there's a wide range of heroines for everyone. I like kick ass heroines, but only in moderation. I want her to be able to take care of herself, but I also like to see that she can cooperate with the hero if/when necessary. Same goes for her hero, really. If they're too badass then they seem too good to be true to me. So I like it when together they make a kickass team. Does that make sense? You're right though that a softer touch can sometimes get the point across more successfully. Especially when you're dealing with a society that's male-dominated. Thanks for coming by!

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  28. One of my favorite hear me roar heroine is Jenny from Maggie Osborne's The Promise of Jenny Jones. I am a fan of strong and intelligent heroines. They definitely make me want to root them on.

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    1. I don't think I've ever read THE PROMISE OF JENNY JONES, Na. I know I read some of her stuff a few years ago when I kept hearing how great she was. And she definitely is a fab writer, so I'll have to hunt down Jenny Jones. Thanks for bringing it to my attention! :)

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  29. Manda: Congrats on release day! I love heroine's who push the boundaries, and yours definitely fit the bill. I think Suzanne Brockmann has quite a few great heroines. I also agree with Laurie G about Stephanie in LAST MAN STANDING, and I recently read Tessa Dare's A WEEK TO BE WICKED and thoroughly enjoyed Minerva, a socially awkward, book-loving geologist. ;-)

    Don't enter me, I already bought the book.

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    1. Oops, "heroines", no apostrophe. *sigh*

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    2. Thank you, Gwen! And as a Brockmann fan, I concur! And OMG how much did I love Minerva in Tessa Dare's A WEEK TO BE WICKED??? She might be my favorite bookish heroine ever. What a great book. Thanks for buying my book:) You rock!

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  30. Loved How To Dance With a Duke, but looks like I need to catch up. I am a book behind.
    Congrats on the new release and looking forward to reading book 2 & 3. Thanks for the awesome giveaway.

    I love the book by Loretta, but I have a big fan of the strong women from the Bridgerton clan by Julia Quinn. Of course the mom is awesome, she is a strong woman to raise 8 kids all on her own after her husband died. I also love Daphne, since she introduced me to the family, and also love Eloise.
    christinebails at yahoo dot com.

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    1. I'm a big fan of the Bridgerton's too, Chris! Girls and boys. But the Bridgerton ladies are definitely strong women! And so are the ladies who marry into the family, like Kate and Penelope! What I like about JQ's heroines is that they fight the system, but they do it in a rational, sensible way. They aren't reckless and they don't endanger everyone around them. Thanks for coming by!

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  31. My all time favorite is Scarlet O'Hara. Thanks for the giveaway!

    kscathyATyahooDOTcom

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    1. Scarlett O'Hara is definitely a boundary pusher, Cathy! Great example:)

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  32. Hi Manda, it looks like a great book, can't wait to pick it up! I love fiesty women, especially when they hold their own to men, or just are comfortable with themselves to not conform. Love the Hathaways, Bridgertons, Iris Johansen's women, Cynster sisters, so many more :) I have to say I too talked to my pastor & parents at 8 as I was very upset I wasn't allowed to be an alter boy like my friend. At that time they just told me I could do other things, they tried to be nice without saying outright no, but I said that or nothing lol a little stubborn. Thanks for giveaway & insight!

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    1. Thanks, Jessika! Glad to know I wasn't the only little Catholic girl who was ticked off about the altar boy thing. You've mentioned some of my fave feisty heroines! You have great taste!

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  33. Love the book premise, and OMG, you have the BEST covers Manda! This one is just... gah! Can't wait to read it!

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    1. Speaking of great books...one more month, Jennifer McQuiston! So excited for release day of WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND!

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    2. She does have gorgeous covers, doesn't she?

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    3. Thank you, Jenny! You've got a pretty sweet cover yourself! Can't wait to buy it:) How much longer...a month?

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  34. I'm sure there are more fiesty women in books... but the previous posters have certainly mentioned my favorites.. Congrats on your latest release!!!

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  35. Feisty.. I'm not sure about feisty, but my favorite kick-butt heroine is jd robb's eve dallas from the in death series

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    1. Ooh! Good choice, Sienny! Eve is definitely a pusher of boundaries!

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  36. Manda, congratulations on the release of HTEAE! I am looking forward to reading it!!

    I think my fave heroine is Penelope from JQ's ROMANCING MR. BRIDGERTON. She isn't a verbal woman "hear me roar", but a quiet one who uses her pen to roar at the masses. She's spunky, yet kind. I love all of the JQ heroines, and heroes, for that matter.

    Congrats again!!

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    1. Thank you, Deb! Yay! Another Penelope fan! JQ writes some fab heroines but I have a special place in my heart for her:)

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  37. Jessica from Lord of Scoundrels, Kate from JQ's The Viscount who Loved Me, Gillian from Garwood's Ransom, and Judith from Garwood's The Secret are the first to come to mind when I think of historical heroines.

    Congrats on the new book! It sounds great!

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    1. Thank you, Cheryl! All of those are great examples of my kind of heroine!

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  38. I like Belle in Dancing at Midnight, by Julia Quinn. She has no problem being a bluestocking & also overlooks propriety at times to get what she wants.

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    1. Aww, great example, Sharlene! I think we get so caught up in the Bridgertons we forget about the books that came before and after them!

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  39. Hey, Manda! Happy Release Day! :-)

    Oh, there are so many wonderful heroines out there---too many to choose from, but I'll name a few that I love. ;-) I love Joyous "Joy" MacQuarrie from Jill Barnett's BEWITCHING, and of course Eve Dallas is the "hear me roar" type, without a doubt. LOL Count me as another Penelope fan. She holds a special place in my heart, too.

    I saw someone mention Victoria Holt novels earlier. OMG! I started reading her books in the 7th grade! I couldn't gobble them up fast enough. They were my intro to romance, and I have my 7th grade English teacher, Mrs. Parker, to thank for leading me to them. :-)

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    1. Thank you, Gannon! And woohoo! Another Victoria Holt fan!!! There are more of us than I even know!

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  40. Hello my darlings! Well, Manda you named one of my favorite romances of all time when you mentioned Lord of Scoundrels! Jessica is a top notch cage rattler and I adore her for it. I love an unconventional heroine and your series has been a pleasure to read because of it. Can't wait for my daughter and I to sink our teeth into How To Entice An Earl!

    (Please don't enter me as I want to get my daughter her own hard copy while I enjoy mine on the Nook app!)

    Mwah! Love ya darlling!

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  41. Oh this book looks really good, would love to read it.

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    1. Thanks, Quilt Lady! I hope you get to read it!

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  42. Manda, thanks so much for being a terrific guest today. Best of luck with How to Entice an Earl!

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  43. I can't think of a favorite rebellious, buck the system heroine, but I certainly enjoy them when I find them. That's my favorite type of heroine, one who questions everything and has definite ideas of how things should be and doesn't settle for less.

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  44. This book does look really good. Congrats on the release! I guess an historical author whose heroines I adore is Sarah MacLean. Her heroines are often either the blue-stockings, awkward, or some other type of outcast. Yet they are all great characters that you can really get attached to :)

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  45. I do love a heroine who can stand up for herself. I'm at a loss for a book title right now.

    HOW TO ENTICE AN EARL is a must read for me.

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  46. Hi Manda, I will have to read this series. I have to say Eve Dallas from JD Robb's In Death series. No one Roars louder then Eve. :)
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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  47. I always thought that Scarlet O'Hara from Gone With The Wind was a roaring female to be admired :)

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  48. I may sound like a copy-cat, but as I've always said before, Scarlett O'Hara is one of the strongest fictional women I have ever read about. While she may have been raised with a "silver spoon in her mouth," she was certainly able to cope and go on beautifully after the spoon tarnished. Let's hear it for Scarlett!

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  49. I may also sound like a copycat, but Scarlett O'Hara was a very strong and determined heroine ahead of her time.

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  50. I can never remember names, but that is exactly the kind of woman I love to read about - confident & skilled, kind and with a sense of humor.

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