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


Daily Deals: From King Arthur to President Lincoln, romances and biographies

Daily Deals: From King Arthur to President Lincoln, romances and biographies

Lincoln by David Herbert Donald. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

David Herbert Donald’s Lincoln is a stunningly original portrait of Lincoln’s life and presidency. Donald brilliantly depicts Lincoln’s gradual ascent from humble beginnings in rural Kentucky to the ever- expanding political circles in Illinois, and finally to the presidency of a country divided by civil war. Donald goes beyond biography, illuminating the gradual development of Lincoln’s character, chronicling his tremendous capacity for evolution and growth, thus illustrating what made it possible for a man so inexperienced and so unprepared for the presidency to become a great moral leader. In the most troubled of times, here was a man who led the country out of slavery and preserved a shattered Union — in short, one of the greatest presidents this country has ever seen.

Out of all the election books, this might be the least controversial but the most interesting. This not to say that the book is without its critics. I thought this reviewer summarized it best “While I feel that Mr. Donald’s sober, respectful portrait of Lincoln reflects serious scholarship, I can’t agree that this is the towering literary accomplishment the blurbs suggest. When reading this tome (do you really need such excruciating detail about all those secondary and tertiary 19th century politicians?) one often remembers that the author is an elderly Harvard academic, and not the kind of intuitive storyteller and brilliant writer who is the subject of the book.”

AmazonBNSonyKoboBook Depository

The Bone Chamber by Robin Burcell. $ .99

From the Jacket Copy:

Mysteriously summoned to Quantico to help re-create the face of a murdered, mutilated young woman, FBI forensic artist Special Agent Sydney Fitzpatrick knows immediately this is no ordinary crime. The hit-and-run death of the forensic anthropologist assisting her—a close friend—and Sydney’s abrupt dismissal from the case by covert government investigators only strengthen her need for answers. Now her hunt for a killer is carrying her from Washington to Rome to the hidden chamber of a legendary tomb—on the trail of a fabled treasure of the Knights Templar . . . and a curse.

For buried deep in the mysteries of the Freemasons and the Vatican’s Holy See is a secret that could rock the world. Suddenly an ancient map is pointing Sydney toward something the Templars wished to hide away forever—something that could unleash an unstoppable tide of blood and devastation.

This is the second novel featuring Sydney Fitzpatrick. The first is “Face of a Killer.” The PW review says it is fun but cliched. For $.99 that seems a fair trade. It is a story that is highly dependent on one’s appreciation for conspiracies and secret societies.

AmazonBNSonyKoboBook Depository

Knight of Darkness by Kinley MacGregor. $ .99

From the Jacket Copy:

For countless centuries, I’ve been the assassin for the infamous Merlin, even though the woman who birthed me sits at the right hand of our enemy, Morgen le Fey. Now both my mother and Morgen have decided that it’s time I take my place on their side of this conflict.

Normally, telling them no wouldn’t be a problem, except for the fact that the good guys I protect think that I’m an even worse demon than the ones we fight. Hmm, maybe they’re right. I have to say that I do enjoy maiming anyone who gets in my way.

At least until my mother gives me a simple choice: join Morgen’s Circle of the Damned or see an innocent woman die. I’m all for saving the innocent, but Merewyn isn’t as innocent as she seems. And she’s none too fond of the fact that her fate is in my dubious hands. Personally I’m all for taking the easy way out, but leaving her to Morgen is rough, even for me. Now the only way to save both our lives is to face the evilest forces ever known—my mother and Morgen. And two people who know nothing of trust must learn to rely on each other or die: provided we don’t kill each other first.

For those who may not know it, Kinley MacGregor is also Sherrilyn Kenyon. This was originally published in 2006. This is the second book in the Lords of the Avalon series. There is apparently quite a bit of sex in this story which ruined it for some readers. Others felt that the ridiculousness of the story affected their experience. For $.99 you can decide for yourself.

AmazonBNSonyKoboBook Depository

The Genuine Article by Patricia Rice. $ 2.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

Prequel to THE MARQUESS, Regency Nobles series

Clever and determined, Lady Marian Lawrence arrived in London to snare a rich husband in hopes of saving her family from ruin—not an easy task given her biting wit and lack of beauty. Hiding her true self, she almost wins the hand of the wealthy, amiable Lord Darley—until Darley’s nefarious best friend blocks their path to the altar.

A man who has vowed never to marry, Reginald Montague is as determined to prevent a fortune hunter from snaring Darley as Marian is to have a wealthy husband. Far from rich but well aware of his aristocratic lineage, Montague is prepared to do anything to stop Marian, including seduce her. With dazzling skill and subtle stratagem, he sets out to change Marian’s dislike for him into desire—as Marian struggles to keep the lie she’s living from being revealed by a truly disastrous love…

Originally published as a Signet Regency, Ms. Rice has re-released it in digital format. There aren’t many reviews that I can find and I don’t remember reading any historical books by Rice.


Daily Deals: Sardonic hitwoman; classic feminist book; paranormal YA; and a novelization sequel

Daily Deals: Sardonic hitwoman; classic feminist book; paranormal YA; and a...

hitwoman2Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman by JB Lynn. $3.49.

From Jacket Copy:

Maggie Lee is not your average hitwoman. For one thing, she’s never killed anyone. For another, after hitting her head in the car accident that killed her sister, her new best friend is a talking lizard—a picky eater, obsessed with Wheel of Fortune, that only Maggie can hear.

Maggie, who can barely take care of herself, is desperate to help her injured and orphaned niece get the best medical care possible, so she reluctantly accepts a mobster’s lucrative job offer: major cash to kill his monstrous son-in-law.

Paired with Patrick Mulligan, a charming murder mentor (who happens to moonlight as a police detective), Maggie stumbles down her new career path, contending with self-doubt, three meddling aunts, a semi-psychic friend predicting her doom, and a day job she hates. Oh, and let’s not forget about Paul Kowalski, the sexy beat cop who could throw her ass in jail if he finds out what she’s up to.

Training has never been so complicated! And, this time, Maggie has to get the job done. Because if she doesn’t . . . she’s the mob’s next target.

The $3.49 price is the discounted price at Amazon but it is $2.71 at BooksonBoard (who is really discounting HarperCollins books)

Jayne really enjoyed the book and reviewed it here

You certainly do have a “voice” and I completely enjoyed my time listening to it. But I’ll say that it’s probably not for everyone and that since a lot of people don’t like 1st person POV, that won’t help further the cause much. But I loved it. Maggie is a breath of sardonic fresh air. But beyond the deadpan humor and sarcasm, what kept me reading is that Maggie isn’t always right and certainly isn’t perfect. But her heart is in the right place and she tries. And for her little niece, she’ll do anything even if that means buying live crickets for “Godzilla” Katie’s brown anole lizard pet who speaks to Maggie in the voice of Alan Rickman. Maybe a little too much time spent watching Snape?


Jennifer Estep Touch of Frost Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep. $2.99.

From Jacket Copy:

My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody’s head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest.

But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I’m determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why – especially since I should have been the one who died …

This is a pretty well received series by Estep. I haven’t read it although I have bought a few books in the series when they have been on sale.


Elizabeth: The Golden Age Tasha Alexander Elizabeth: The Golden Age by Tasha Alexander. $1.99.

From Jacket Copy:

The reign of Queen Elizabeth I was a time of war, passion, and spectacular achievement. Elizabeth: The Golden Age finds Elizabeth facing bloodlust for her throne and familial betrayal. Growing keenly aware of the changing religious and political tides of late sixteenth-century Europe, Elizabeth faces an open challenge from the Spanish King Philip II, who is determined to restore England to Catholicism with his powerful army and dominating armada.

Preparing to go to war to defend her empire, Elizabeth struggles to balance ancient royal duties with an unexpected vulnerability: her love for the seafarer Sir Walter Raleigh. But he remains forbidden for a queen who has sworn body and soul to her country.

Yet as she charts her course abroad, treachery is the rot behind the glittering royal throne. Her most trusted adviser uncovers an assassination plot that could topple the throne, and the traitors may even include Elizabeth’s own cousin Mary Stuart.

Based on the sequel to the Academy Award®-winning Elizabeth, Elizabeth: The Golden Age tells the thrilling tale of an era—the story of one woman’s crusade to control love, crush enemies, and secure her position as a beloved icon of the Western world.

This book looks like it was a spec book. I.e., the publisher had an idea for a book and found a writer to write it. There are only a few reviews and most people appear to have purchased the book because they are fans of Tasha Alexander (an author Jayne enjoys). One of the reviewers said it was a quick read and not particularly detailed historically.


Sex and the Single Girl: The Unmarried Woman's Guide to Men Helen Gurley Brown Sex and the Single Girl: The Unmarried Woman’s Guide to Men by Helen Gurley Brown. $.99.

From Jacket Copy:

The trailblazing book that jump-started the sexual revolution

Helen Gurley Brown, the iconic editor in chief of Cosmopolitan for thirty-two years, is considered one of the most influential figures of Second Wave feminism. Her first book sold millions of copies, became a cultural phenomenon, and ushered in a whole new way of thinking about work, men, and life. Feisty, fun, and totally frank, Sex and the Single Girl offers advice to unmarried women that is as relevant today as it was when it burst onto the scene in the 1960s. This spirited manifesto puts women—and what they want—first. It captures the exuberance, optimism, and independence that have influenced the lives of so many contemporary American women.

One of the reviews struck me ironically. The reviewer said “Nothing like “Sex and the City.” Stick with Candace Bushnell! Trust me.” It’s not that this opinion is wrong but that Helen Gurley Brown was probably the pattern for Sex in the City. A 1960s advice book on sex and singlehood for women is likely quite different than a book published in the 1990s.