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Monday, February 6, 2017

Blog Tour, Prizes & Review ~ The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple by K.A. Merikan




The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple is the kind of book that just needed to be written, despite our already tight schedule. The idea first came to us when we watched a documentary about highwaymen, but we promised ourselves to wait. And then we went to Cornwall for a month, and initial plans collapsed. As we walked through the woods, watching the lush nature and the old stone cottages peppered on both sides of a valley where we were staying, the characters and story steadily came to us. Our aim was to write a historical book that provides as much excitement as readers learned to expect from our contemporary romance.



RELEASE DATE: 7th February 2017

If you want to see our inspiration photos for this book, check out the ‘Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple’ Pinterest board: https://uk.pinterest.com/KAMerikan/the-black-sheep-and-the-rotten-apple/




The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple is our baby. It’s been a year since we started working on this book, and to celebrate its release, we’re organizing a quiz for readers who follow The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple blog tour. Answers to all questions will be provided in the blog posts, and we will then randomly pick the lucky winners. You can win:

-       a signed paperback of The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple + a selection of Cornish treats (main prize - for one person)

-       3 ebooks of choice from our backlist + a surprise treat from Cornwall (will go to 3 more people)

For a chance to win, follow the instructions in blog posts and solve the quiz, which will be published on our website on 1st February 2017. Please, send answers to kamerikan@gmail.com with ‘Black Sheep Quiz’ in the subject line of the email.

Winners will be randomly chosen from readers who sent us correct answers by 17th February 2017.

LINKS TO ALL POSTS:

02/01 THE QUIZ


***

The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple is set in the late eighteenth century, which is a period associated with neoclassicist architecture - tall windows, majestic columns, clean lines. But the fact is that cities and towns weren’t rebuilt every time fashions changed. We wanted to show this in our book, and Tredele, a house where a large chunk of the story is set is an example of a very old building still in use.

Evan’s family estate is old and unfashionable, in a poor shape, because he has no means to make all the necessary repairs. Following the example set by many large properties all around Europe, we named the house after an ancestress of Evan’s. We had numerous ideas for the overall look of Tredele, but a visit to a medieval house just a few miles away from where we stayed in Cornwall solidified our vision.

Cotehele is was originally built in the 1300s, although it has Tudor additions, and I never visited a place quite like it before. There are plenty of medieval castles that I’ve seen, but Cotehele is more like a country residence, built in stone but with no fortifications. Perched on top of a forested hill, with a river flowing below, it is quite remote and atmospheric.

Stepping into the courtyard feels like entering a different world, even more so when one walks straight into the great hall, with its tall whitened walls and medieval weaponry for decoration. The floors aren’t level, and they creak underneath the feet of visitors, the walls colorless and covered by tapestries that have been cut to accommodate doors and windows - obviously not originally designed for the space they occupy.

Windows are deeply set in the thick walls, providing little illumination, especially that there is no electrical light installed inside the house, at least not in the areas opened to guests. The furniture is heavy, and must have been very unfashionable in the eighteenth century. Dark, very medieval, the house must have been very cold in winter. It was just the kind of atmosphere needed for Evan’s home.

Did you even had the experience of feeling transported into a bit of a different reality by the place you visited?




“How does one start a relationship with another man when it is forbidden?”
“One needs to decide that the other man is worth dying for.”

Cornwall, 1785

Sir Evan Penhart. Baronet. Highwayman. Scoundrel.

Julian Reece. Writer. Wastrel. Penniless.

No one forces Julian Reece to marry. Not his father, not his brother. No one.

When he is thrust into a carriage heading for London to meet his future bride, his way out comes in the form of an imposing highwayman, riding a horse as black as night. Julian makes a deal with the criminal, but what he doesn’t expect is that despite the title of baronet, the robber turns out to be no gentleman.

Sir Evan Penhart is pushed into crime out of desperation, but the pact with a pretty, young merchant’s son turns out to have disastrous consequences. Not only is Evan left broke, but worse yet, Julian opens up a Pandora’s box of passions that are dark, needy, and too wild to tame. With no way to lock them back in, rash decisions and greedy desire lead to a tide that wrecks everything in its way.

But Julian might actually like all the sinful, carnal passion unleashed on him. How can he admit this though, even to himself, when a taste of the forbidden fruit could have him end up with a noose around his neck? And with highway robbery being a hanging offense and the local constable on their back, Julian could lose Evan before he can decide anything about the nature of his desires.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: highwayman, abduction, ransom, forbidden love, self-discovery, danger, crime,
Genre: Dark romance, historical
Erotic content: Explicit scenes

Length: ~140,000 words (standalone novel)



Reviewed by:



3.5*

This book is a bit of a slow build up. Of course there's action right away as that's how Evan and Julian meet. Julian is picked up by his father and brother from a tavern after a full night of drinking and playing cards (his usual). His father is upset with Julian because all Julian wants to do is travel and write and all his father wants to do is marry him off for title and money. On their return home their carriage is stopped and they are "robbed". Only Julian sees this is a chance to get out of dodge.
He comes up with a plan for their robber and he to collect some ransom money, and off they go.

This is where things kind of slow down. Long days in Tredele and a build up of chemistry between the two. Lots of confusion and Julian struggling to find himself. Then Evan and Julian misreading each other's signs. I kinda wanted to shake them both.

My real struggle is, I cannot connect with "nobleman". The fancy shmancy speak, the dressing up and balls, etc... I tend to lean towards the more villanous characters, such as Thieves and robbers who are struggling to make ends meet. This is why I connect with Evan and not so much Julian. Julian has this underlying sense that they "need" to socialize and they "need" to dress up for the masquerade and he "needs" to wear Evans brothers old fancy clothes. These are the parts I did not connect with. Evan is struggling to keep his families legacy alive, so much so he's willing to commit crimes, while Julian wants to dress like a peacock. Evan having falling for him though and only wanting to keep him happy for a little more time with him just shows Evan's nature, , and I loved him all the more for it.

Things finally picked up for me when they decided that this highway men stuff is going to be their gig for awhile until they can get enough for repairs and such on Evan's home. They have a plan of action and they're going to take care of business. Their first "victim" couldn't have deserved it more. I laughed at that scene a little and didn't really feel bad about it.

Between their robbery and the notion that their relationship is forbidden...and I mean sentenced to death forbidden... I was always on edge and super nervous, waiting for that other show to drop. When it does it's a doozy.

There is definitely a surprise hero or heroine in this tale though, and I was kind of surprised by it, and also glad for it. Just because these two make it out of the gallows, doesn't mean the action will stop though. That last fight scene is pretty intense and brilliant. I couldn't have asked for a better ending for Pascoe. He was a scary MF through the entire story, that guy you just love to hate and can't wait to see get what's coming to him. Julian and Evan's ending, or new beginning, is pretty wonderful as well. I really like Martin and I would not be apposed to even short stories of his adventures because he seems like an interesting guy.

All in all, the historical accuracy and descriptions were spot on. So much so that I felt like I could smell and taste everything around them and that I was taken back in time. The storyline and characters (especially Evan, HEA my fave :D) are great and of course there's always that underlying darkness we've come to love from KA  :) If you're a historical romance buff, I'm pretty sure you're going to love this story.

About the author




K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are mistaken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of - it will be full of surprises.



More information about ongoing projects, works in progress and publishing at:
K.A. Merikan’s author page: http://kamerikan.com







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