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: Romance tropes to love or hate (or both)

Daily Deals: Romance tropes to love or hate (or both)

valentinos love child monroeValentino’s Love-Child by Lucy Monroe. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Under the Sicilian sun,

Valentino’s mistress tempts him like no other Their relationship is scorching, its intensity unmatched, the desire indescribable…

Only love can never be mentioned. But his stunning, intriguing American lover is testing his resolve. He said he’d never marry again. His principles won’t allow it. The one person to tame the untameable Valentino is the woman now carrying his child…

Harlequin Presents is one of the most maligned lines in the romance genre, but we readers know that nothing can hit the spot like a good HP when you really need a certain type of read. I haven’t read this one but a handful of Monroe’s titles are discounted right now, and this is apparently one of her best. If you don’t believe me, believe the knowledgeable and amazing ladies at the Amazon romance discussion board, because they totally know their stuff and they’re my go-to source for HP recommendations. Oh, right you want to know what it’s about? Widow and widower hook up for casual sex, then things get complicated. It’s an HP! It’s all in the execution.

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wild childWild Child by Molly O’Keefe. $ 0.99 From the Jacket Copy:

Perfect for readers of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson, this sizzling romance tells the story of a sexy small-town mayor and a notorious “bad girl,” who discover that home really is where the heart is.

Monica Appleby is a woman with a reputation. Once she was America’s teenage “Wild Child,” with her own reality TV show. Now she’s a successful author coming home to Bishop, Arkansas, to pen the juicy follow-up to her tell-all autobiography. Problem is, the hottest man in town wants her gone. Mayor Jackson Davies is trying to convince a cookie giant to move its headquarters to his crumbling community, and Monica’s presence is just too . . . unwholesome for business. But the desire in his eyes sends a very different message: Stay, at least for a while.

Jackson needs this cookie deal to go through. His town is dying and this may be its last shot. Monica is a distraction proving too sweet, too inviting—and completely beyond his control. With every kiss he can taste her loneliness, her regrets, and her longing. Soon their uncontrollable attraction is causing all kinds of drama. But when two lost hearts take a surprise detour onto the bumpy road of unexpected love, it can only lead someplace wonderful.

Molly O’Keefe is a favorite DA author and this is the first book in her Boys of Bishop series. Robin reviewed Wild Child and said that Molly and Jackson’s relationship “is emblematic of the way O’Keefe can bring characters with somewhat clichéd backstories into vivid and compelling life as they stumble, sometimes joyously, often painfully, always passionately, toward love and mutual happiness.”

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sea-of-suspicion-andersonSea of Suspicion by Toni Anderson. $ 0.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Marine biologist Susie Cooper traded her life in America for a dream job on the rugged Scottish coast. Now all she lacks is the right man to start a family with. After their first meeting, she knows sexy Detective Inspector Nick Archer isn’t what she’s looking for. He’s the type of guy whose idea of commitment is staying the whole night.

Nick has returned to St. Andrews for one reason only—to fulfill his vow to find his wife’s killer. Relentless in his twelve-year quest for justice, he has no problem using Susie to get close to his primary suspect: her boss. But the passion between them smolders, and as it ignites, Nick finds himself torn between his past and his present—with Susie.

When one of her boss’s students is murdered, Nick’s investigation draws Susie into a web of madness and betrayal. They will have to learn to trust each other if they’re going to catch a killer…and come out of this alive.

I always think of this book when readers are looking for unusual romances. It’s set in St. Andrews, Scotland and has a bit of an Anne-Stuart vibe. The heroine is a marine biologist and the hero is a Detective Inspector who is obsessed with the unsolved murder of his wife years ago. Lots of angst, spooky atmosphere, and Things That Are not What They Seem. Surprisingly, we haven’t reviewed this at DA, but at $0.99 I say go for it.

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hero of my heart framptonHero of My Heart by Megan Frampton. $ 0.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

In this emotional and powerfully erotic tale of love and redemption, a tender vicar’s daughter and a tortured war hero discover that sin may be their only salvation.

When Mary Smith’s corrupt, debt-ridden brother drags her to a seedy pub to sell her virtue to the highest bidder, Alasdair Thornham leaps to the rescue. Of course the marquess is far from perfect husband material. Although he is exceedingly handsome, with a perfect, strong body, chiseled jaw, and piercing green eyes, Alasdair is also too fond of opium, preferring delirium to reality. Still, he has come to Mary’s aid, and now she intends to return the favor. She will show him that he is not evil, just troubled.

Mary was a damsel in need of a hero, but Alasdair’s plan is shortsighted. He never foresaw her desire to save him from himself. Alasdair is quite at home in his private torment, until this angel proves that a heart still beats in his broken soul. The devil may have kept her from hell, but will Mary’s good intentions lead them back to the brink—or to heaven in each other’s arms?

This book intrigued me because it has an opening very much like my favorite Georgette Heyer short story. he heroine is being auctioned off by her no-good brother in order to settle his gambling debts, and the hero buys her on a whime, without having a good idea of what he’ll do afterward. But then it goes off in a totally different direction, not least because the hero is an opium addict. Some negative reviews said the opium storyline wasn’t well executed, while others said there was too much going on in the book. The positive reviews like the road romance aspect and commend the writing. And it’s a nice cover: the heroine’s dress isn’t trying to devour her whole for a change, and the hero almost has a shirt on.

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Daily Deals: Manga, Mystery, YA and Beer for the Holiday

Daily Deals: Manga, Mystery, YA and Beer for the Holiday

One Piece OdaOne Piece #1 by Eiichiro Oda. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

As a child, Monkey D. Luffy was inspired to become a pirate by listening to the tales of the buccaneer “Red-Haired” Shanks. But Luffy’s life changed when he accidentally ate the Gum-Gum Devil Fruit and gained the power to stretch like rubber…at the cost of never being able to swim again! Years later, still vowing to become the king of the pirates, Luffy sets out on his adventure…one guy alone in a rowboat, in search of the legendary “One Piece,” said to be the greatest treasure in the world…

We don’t feature much manga here at DA and I’m almost entirely unqualified to recommend works in the genre, but when I saw the description I knew I wanted to read it. According to Wikipedia (so obviously it’s true), One Piece is the bestselling manga series in history. It’s about pirates. And there are fishmen. And reindeer. This volume is where it all began. I know I’m not the target audience but how can I resist?

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh BardugoShadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy.

A YA historical fantasy set is Russia definitely qualifies as unusual. Janine reviewed this and said that the book was “addictive. There is something about [the author's] voice that crackles with energy and invites the reader into the story.” The ending was a big letdown for her, but despite that she wanted to read on.

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Antiquarian Julian SanchezThe Antiquarian by Julian Sanchez. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

In this gripping historical thriller, the search for a mysterious and powerful object hidden in the heart of Barcelona leads to ambition, desire, love—and murder

An intriguing letter from his adoptive father, Artur, turns novelist Enrique Alonso’s world upside down. Artur, a well-known antiquarian in Barcelona, reveals that he has discovered an ancient manuscript, but he feels uneasy, as though he’s in over his head. But before Artur can piece together the final part of the puzzle, he is attacked and murdered. Enrique rushes to Barcelona to investigate his father’s death and retrieve the book. His ex-wife, Bety, a philologist, comes to his aid and the two set about translating and deciphering the encrypted text. Written in Latin and Old Catalan, the manuscript holds the key to the location of a priceless object dating back to the Middle Ages, and a secret closely guarded by the Jewish community living in the city’s Gothic Quarter. When Enrique and Bety realize they are not the only ones following the trail, it becomes a race against time to find the mythical object that has the power to transform lives.

I love mysteries that involve ancient manuscripts and other kinds of artifacts, and this one is set in Barcelona and features a divorced couple who join forces to solve a murder. It’s translated from the original Spanish, and apparently comparing it to Carlos Ruiz Zafon wasn’t the best idea because some of the negative Goodreads reviews complained that it was nothing like Zafon. I’m hoping it’s a bit like Arturo Perez-Reverté’s mysteries (and yes I know all Spanish-authored mysteries are not alike, but there’s that present-and-past thing going, plus the manuscript).

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Love chocolate beer violet dukeLove, Chocolate, and Beer by Violet Duke. $ 0.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

Romance has met its most unlikely match-up…

Luke Bradford is a chocolatier on a mission. After moving his chocolate shop, and newly single life, to the quirky town of Cactus Creek, Luke wants nothing more than to devote all his energy into making his business a success–by taking the romance market by storm. But his grand plans get thrown for a loop when he locks horns with the feisty beer-brewing beauty next door who calls his ‘romantic idealism’ a load of fairytale bull. Soon, driving the woman sparking nuts becomes another wickedly fun priority he simply can’t get enough of.

In his defense, she’s addictively easy to incite…and plain impossible to resist.

Beloved local brewmaster Dani Dobson is beyond riled up. It’s bad enough the new shop owner in town comes locked and loaded with both a distractingly rugged charm and sexy flashing dimples, but the whole only-in-the-movies variety of romance he’s selling–the kind her world has been crushed by before–is really doing a number on her allergy to unrealistic clichés. What’s worse, he’s created an annoyingly clever ad campaign that dubs ‘beer joints’ like hers as the “cave where romance goes to hibernate.” The nerve of that man.

Combustible chemistry or not, damn it, this means war. The stakes…very likely, her heart.

Chocolatier meets brewer in what has to be an opposites-attract romance, and the heroine is the beer maker! The negative reviews say there are too many secrets muddying up the storyline and there’s a lot of detail about beer and chocolate production, but the positive reviews call it cute and fun. Oh, who am I kidding. She had me at “beer.”

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