Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

About Sunita

http://vacuousminx.wordpress.com

Sunita has been reading romances since she ran out of Cherry Ames, Student Nurse and Chalet School books and graduated to Mary Stewart and Georgette Heyer. Other old favorites include Mary Burchell, Betty Neels, Elsie Lee, and Edith Layton. Among current writers, she reads and rereads Anne Stuart, Tamara Allen, Sarah Morgan, Marion Lennox, Josh Lanyon, and Susanna Kearsley. She blogs as VacuousMinx and tweets as @sunita_p.

Posts by Sunita :

Daily Deals: Usual and unusual heroes and a chick-lit mystery

Daily Deals: Usual and unusual heroes and a chick-lit mystery

Irresistible Karen RobardsIrresistible by Karen Robards. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

With this sensual and entrancing tale, bestselling author Karen Robards continues her wonderful trilogy of three sisters taking their rightful place as the belles of Regency England’s ton.

Claire Banning fulfilled every debutante’s dream when she married a rich nobleman. Soon, however, the celebrated beauty realizes she wed a dissolute wastrel. Bitterly hurt and desperately lonely, Claire vows nonetheless to take her expected place in society. Then, on a journey home to her husband’s estate on the coast of Sussex, she is abducted, and her life—and her heart—are changed forever.

Hugh Battancourt—a dark and dangerous nobleman who long ago turned his back on the ton and now leads a life secretly dedicated to his country’s service—is determined not to be swayed by his prisoner’s beauty as they share a cabin on a ship bound for France. Lives depend on his retrieving from her a letter full of secrets she intends to turn over to the enemy. But even as Claire and Hugh engage in a battle of wits and wills, captor and captive find themselves drawn irresistibly to each other. Is it possible, Claire wonders, that she could discover the true meaning of love that has eluded her with this handsome stranger? One who will lay his life on the line in order to protect her from someone who is intent on placing Claire in the path of danger?

This sounds like a retro romance: An unhappily married heroine, a Dark and Dangerous Hero, and Insta-lust in the Regency. Robards wrote a lot of well-received historical romances back in the day, and reviewers say that even when the story drags the writing is very good. AAR gave this a B- in 2002 when it came out. There is adultery, but the heroine feels awful about it and the husband is a jerk, so there you go. It’s the second in a trilogy but can be read out of order. The sale at Kobo is good in both the US and Canada, and looks to be today only.

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Highlander Terri BrisbinThe Highlander’s Dangerous Temptation by Terri Brisbin. $ 0.99

From the Jacket Copy:

SHE IS SIN PERSONIFIED…

Cursed by past tragedies, notorious Highlander Laird Athdar MacCallum has devoted himself to leading his people—and has vowed never to marry again. Until he is utterly disarmed by the innocent beauty in the eyes of Isobel Ruriksdottir…

Isobel is drawn to the vulnerability she senses behind the fearsome facade of the clan chief. But with his formidable reputation, he is strictly forbidden. Being together can only lead them into danger, yet the temptation to risk all for their perilous passion is impossible to ignore.

Highlanders! This is part of a series, so apparently there CAN be more than one. The hero is twice-widowed, apparently from a curse, so he really shouldn’t be marrying the heroine if they want her to survive. But this is romance, so we know they get their HEA; in the meantime, there are villains to be vanquished. It’s a medieval and not too concerned with historical accuracy, but if you’re a fan of what one GR reviewer fondly calls “kilty ladyporn,” you probably know that already.

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Painted Faces by L.H. CoswayPainted Faces by L.H. Cosway. $ Free [ETA: The ebook is only available at Amazon. My apologies, I should have checked more carefully.]

From the Jacket Copy:

Come forth with an open mind, for an unconventional tale of love..

Dublin native Freda Wilson considers herself to be an acquired taste. She has a habit of making offensive jokes and speaking her mind too often. She doesn’t have the best track record with first impressions, which is why she gets a surprise when her new neighbour Nicholas takes a shine to her.

Nicholas is darkly handsome, funny and magnetic, and Freda feels like her black and white existence is plunged into a rainbow of colour when she’s around him. When he walks into a room he lights it up, with his quick wit and charisma. He is a travelling cabaret performer, but Freda doesn’t know exactly what that entails until the curtains pull back on his opening night.

She is gob-smacked and entirely intrigued to see him take to the stage in drag. Later on, Nicholas asks her if she would like to become his show assistant. Excited by the idea, she jumps at the chance. Soon she finds herself immersed in a world of wigs, make-up and high heels, surrounded by pretty men and the temptation of falling for her incredibly beautiful employer.

In this story of passion and sexual discovery, Nicholas and Freda will contend with jealousy, emotional highs and lows, and the kind of love that only comes around once in a lifetime.

This deal was brought to my attention by DA commenter Justine. Jayne reviewed this book when it came out: “The book has a serious source of conflict with the lizard brain trumping the thinking brain. Fred and Nicholas each have deep seated issues that won’t go away with a quick authorial wave of the hand. I appreciate that things aren’t quickly smoothed over once they fall in love. In fact, that triggers Nicholas’s insecurities and self hate even more. Time is needed for him to come to grips with his feelings and for Freda to forgive him for what he lashes out and does. But by the end of the book, I’m convinced that each sees in the other The One for a lifetime.”

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handbags and homicide howellHandbags and Homicide by Dorothy Howell. $ 1.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

Haley Randolph is always ready to go to any lengths to get the latest Louis Vuitton. Unfortunately for Haley, her life goes from glam to grim when her passion for fashion outlasts her credit cards, and she’s forced to work at Holt’s–a mid-market department store. Looking for a bit of shopping inspiration, Haley sneaks into the stock room to get a first glimpse of Holt’s one-of-a-kind selection of handbag styles. But instead of the newest Vuitton, Haley discovers her boss is the ultimate fashion victim.

According to the security tapes, Haley was the only person in the stockroom before, during, and after the murder. With everyone in the store eyeing her like last season’s Marc Jacobs, Haley turns to the hunky Ty Cameron, who heads up the store’s loss prevention unit, to help her investigate the murder. Now her knowledge of hot trends will take her from the sales floor to the boardroom to the gritty streets of L.A.’s Garment District as she searches for a killer with impeccable fashion taste. . .

Cozy mystery meets chick-lit. Some of the Amazon reviews describe the heroine as shallow and annoying, but as someone with a Handbag Issue (don’t judge me), I think she sounds both plausible and sympathetic. OK, I admit it, the blurb had me at Handbags, although I find the idea of a mid-market department store having one-of-a-kind merchandise hard to believe. I guess I’ll have to read it and find out, although it apparently ends on a cliffhanger (how do you end a murder mystery on a cliffhanger?). The book received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, who called it “a winning debut.”

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Daily Deals: Holiday Deals from Bestselling Authors and Nonfiction Intrigue

Daily Deals: Holiday Deals from Bestselling Authors and Nonfiction Intrigue

Lot Like Love JamesA Lot Like Love by Julie James. $ 0.99

From the Jacket Copy:

The FBI wants her cooperation.

As the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of the city’s top wine store, Jordan Rhodes is invited to the most exclusive parties in Chicago. But there’s only one party the FBI wants to crash: the charity fund-raiser of a famous restaurateur, who also happens to launder money for the mob. In exchange for her brother’s release from prison, Jordan is going to be there—with a date supplied by the Bureau.

Agent McCall just wants her.

As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never get personal. This “date” with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment—one they’re both determined to pull off even if they can’t be together for five minutes before the sarcasm and sparks begin to fly. But when Nick’s investigation is compromised, he and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they’re a couple, and what starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more…

DA reviewers and readers are big fans of Julie James. Jayne reviewed this book and gave it a B grade: “I had a great time reading the book and loved watching yet another tough FBI agent meet his soul mate where he least expected her. Poor chief Davis must really fear he’s running a matchmaking agency rather than an FBI field office at this point.” This sounds like a great place to start with James’ FBI/Attorney series.

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Dare to Love phillipsDare to Love by Carly Phillips. $ 0.99

From the Jacket Copy:

When it comes to family, Ian Dare gives his all but in relationships he offers the bare minimum. Until one glimpse of sensual Riley Taylor arouses his dominant and protective instincts. He will do anything to possess her … and does. But any future with Riley must include him dealing his half-brother who is a constant reminder of the pain he’d rather forget.

Riley Taylor believes herself immune to domineering men – until charismatic Ian Dare turns a simple kiss into an all out assault on her senses and she discovers she likes his brand of control in the bedroom. As their affair heats up, they soon realize they complete each other in ways neither imagined. But Riley’s past is closer than she cares to remember, and her struggles with Ian’s dominance might just cost her everything.

Carly Phillips is a bestselling trad published author and this self-published novel is the first in a trilogy about the Dare family. The 5-star reviews say it’s passionate and angsty, the lower-starred reviews say there’s too much sex. So, I’m calling it a passionate, angsty, sex-filled contemporary.

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Phantom evil heather grahamPhantom Evil by Heather Graham. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

A secret government unit, a group of renegade paranormal investigators…and a murder no one else can crack.

Though haunted by the recent deaths of two teammates, Jackson Crow knows that the living commit the most heinous crimes.

A police officer utilizing her paranormal intuition, Angela Hawkins already has her hands full of mystery and bloodshed.

But one assignment calls to them too strongly to resist. In a historic mansion in New Orleans’s French Quarter, a senator’s wife falls to her death. Most think she jumped; some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits inhabiting the house—once the site of a serial killer’s grisly work.

In this seemingly unsolvable case, only one thing is certain: whether supernatural or all too human, crimes of passion will cast Jackson and Angela into danger of losing their lives…and their immortal souls.

Bestselling author Heather Graham has written a number of PNR series for Harlequin. I have this book in my TBR but haven’t read it yet. Phantom Evil is the first in Graham’s Krewe of Hunters series, and and the second book, Heart of Evil, is also a deal. Today is the last day for both. The books have a 3.9 rating at Goodreads, with some readers thinking there’s too much romance, others saying there’s not enough romance. I’m going with “probably a reasonable romance-suspense balance.” And it’s a ghost story. I like ghost stories. As the series title suggests, it’s set in New Orleans, so if you RT attendees are suffering NOLA withdrawal, and who doesn’t, this might be a temporary fix.

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Snowden Files hardingThe Snowden Files by Luke Harding. $ 1.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

IT BEGAN WITH A TANTALIZING, ANONYMOUS EMAIL: “I AM A SENIOR MEMBER OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY.”

What followed was the most spectacular intelligence breach ever, brought about by one extraordinary man. Edward Snowden was a 29-year-old computer genius working for the National Security Agency when he shocked the world by exposing the near-universal mass surveillance programs of the United States government. His whistleblowing has shaken the leaders of nations worldwide, and generated a passionate public debate on the dangers of global monitoring and the threat to individual privacy.

In a tour de force of investigative journalism that reads like a spy novel, award-winning Guardian reporter Luke Harding tells Snowden’s astonishing story—from the day he left his glamorous girlfriend in Honolulu carrying a hard drive full of secrets, to the weeks of his secret-spilling in Hong Kong, to his battle for asylum and his exile in Moscow. For the first time, Harding brings together the many sources and strands of the story—touching on everything from concerns about domestic spying to the complicity of the tech sector—while also placing us in the room with Edward Snowden himself. The result is a gripping insider narrative—and a necessary and timely account of what is at stake for all of us in the new digital age.

Luke Harding was asked by his editor at the Guardian (the newspaper that published Snowden’s leaked files) to write a book about the man behind one of the biggest stories so far this century. Harding had access to the Guardian’s materials and he interviewed people around Snowden, including Glenn Greenwald (although not Snowden himself). Greenwald was highly critical of the book when it first came out but he seems to have moderated his views slightly after reading it. Harding is an award-winning journalist whose previous book, on Wikileaks, was turned into a Dreamworks film (The Fifth Estate). If you’re as interested in this story as I am, the book should make an interesting tandem with Greenwald’s just-released book. On sale today and tomorrow.

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