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Daily Deals: lawyers, outlaws, detectives, and teen tennis stars

Daily Deals: lawyers, outlaws, detectives, and teen tennis stars

The House Girl by Tara ConklinThe House Girl by Tara Conklin. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Lina Sparrow is an ambitious young lawyer working on a historic class-action suit seeking reparations for the descendants of American slaves. Josephine is a seventeen-year-old house slave who tends to the mistress of a Virginia tobacco farm—an aspiring artist named Lu Anne Bell. Alternating between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, The House Girl is a searing tale of art, history, love, and secrets that intertwines the stories of two remarkable women.

Some readers had problems connecting emotionally to all the characters and the overall story. But it’s highly reviewed and recommended by most.

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Outlaw in Paradise by Patricia Gaffney.Outlaw in Paradise by Patricia Gaffney. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

A legendary gunfighter brings big trouble to a frontier town, and ignites the passion of a local saloon owner

When Jesse Gault saunters into Paradise, Oregon, with a gun on each hip, the town is instantly abuzz. What could a legendary gunslinger want in Paradise? And what will the townsfolk have to do to keep his trouble from becoming their own? Cady McGill, proprietor of the Rogue Tavern, thinks she may know what Gault has come for, and she doesn’t like it one bit.

Cady’s ongoing battle with Merle Wylie, who has been buying up or burning down properties all over town, is coming to a head, as Wylie tries to get his hands on her tavern and her dried-up gold mine. Hiring a gunfighter like Gault would be just Wylie’s speed. But Cady senses something else behind Gault’s mysterious façade, and as the two grow closer she learns that his closely guarded secrets could spell life or death for the town—and for Cady herself.

I can’t remember if I read this book. The three star reviews say it is wordy and a little shallow. I can see the wordy complaint but all the Gaffney books I’ve read have had a lot of substance.

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The Invisible Code by Christopher FowlerThe Invisible Code by Christopher Fowler. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

London’s craftiest and boldest detectives, Arthur Bryant and John May, are back in this deviously twisting mystery of black magic, madness, and secrets hidden in plain sight.

When a young woman is found dead in the pews of St. Bride’s Church—alone and showing no apparent signs of trauma—Arthur Bryant assumes this case will go to the Peculiar Crimes Unit, an eccentric team tasked with solving London’s most puzzling murders. Yet the city police take over the investigation, and the PCU is given an even more baffling and bewitching assignment.

Called into headquarters by Oskar Kasavian, the head of Home Office security, Bryant and May are shocked to hear that their longtime adversary now desperately needs their help. Oskar’s wife, Sabira, has been acting strangely for weeks—succumbing to violent mood swings, claiming an evil presence is bringing her harm—and Oskar wants the PCU to find out why. And if there’s any duo that can deduce the method behind her madness, it’s the indomitable Bryant and May.

When a second bizarre death reveals a surprising link between the two women’s cases, Bryant and May set off on a trail of clues from the notorious Bedlam hospital to historic Bletchley Park. And as they are drawn into a world of encrypted codes and symbols, concealed rooms and high-society clubs, they must work quickly to catch a killer who lurks even closer than they think.

Witty, suspenseful, and ingeniously plotted, The Invisible Code is Christopher Fowler at the very top of his form.

I don’t know whether you can pick this series up in the middle but my guess is you can. One review said this “But this is no grim, deadly serious police procedural. With the PCU, that’s just not possible. Arthur Bryant is the absent-minded fellow with his latest meal evidenced down the front of his clothes and his cell phone made unusable by the melted sweets on it. He can’t understand why people take exception to his conducting experiments at home and in the office involving things like pig carcasses and explosives. John May is Bryant’s opposite: sartorially impeccable, careful to massage egos when necessary and a believer that the simplest answer is usually the right one. Despite their vast differences, Bryant and May make an effective team and, as always, they go right down to the wire in their investigation.”

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Game On (The Academy Series #1) by Monica SelesGame On (The Academy Series #1) by Monica Seles. $ 1.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

The Academy is an International Sports Mecca for teen athletes of all sports. There are only two ways in. Deep pockets or enough talent to score a scholarship.

Young tennis star Maya’s dreams have finally come true when she earns a scholarship to The Academy. Plucked from her small town, Maya moves to the sports training facility/boarding school to (hopefully) start the beginning of her pro career. But Maya’s fantasy of The Academy doesn’t quite match the reality. Because where there are hot, talented teens, there’s a lot of drama. Meet the players:

Cleo: Maya’s rebel/punk roommate who is nearing the top of the golf world.

Renee: The gorgeous swimmer with enough money to buy her way into The Academy.

Nicole: A tennis star who feels threatened by Maya (but she’d never admit it).

Travis: The son of The Academy owner—perfectly groomed to be the next NFL star.

Jake: Travis’ younger brother—the bad boy to his brother’s good.

Reviews call this Gossip Girl in tennisland. It’s a trashy guilty pleasure. The plot is thin and predictable but a lot of the three star reviews said it was a brainless read, perfect for the poolside. 

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Daily Deals: Small towns, big differences

Daily Deals: Small towns, big differences

Marcus Wilding: Duke of Pleasure   by Carole MortimerMarcus Wilding: Duke of Pleasure by Carole Mortimer. $ Free

From the Jacket Copy:

In this scintillating prequel novella to her Dangerous Dukes miniseries, USA TODAY bestselling historical author Carole Mortimer delivers a feast for the senses!

England, 1815

He’s the most accomplished lover in England, and the finest tutor in pleasure that ever lived!

Lady Julianna Armitage is on a mission:

&nbsp- The goal: Discover passion and learn the true art of lovemaking, something she never experienced in her short, loveless marriage.
&nbsp- The teacher: The devastatingly handsome Marcus Wilding, Duke of Worthing; the one man she could never have?until now.
&nbsp- The outcome: Pure, decadent, indulgent satisfaction!

Julianna is determined to maintain control, but as Marcus unleashes a sensual siege that awakens her every sense, it soon becomes clear that losing control can be the most delicious thing of all!

This is a freebie novella for Mortimer’s new miniseries.

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Carolina Home by Virginia KantraCarolina Home by Virginia Kantra. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Home to the Fletcher family for generations, Dare Island is a fishing village rocked by changing times—its traditions slipping away like sands of the North Carolina coast. Single dad and fishing boat captain Matt Fletcher deferred his own dreams to support his innkeeper parents and build a future for his sixteen-year-old son. Matt has learned to weather life’s storms by steering a steady emotional course…and keeping a commitment-free approach to love.

Newcomer Allison Carter came to Dare Island to escape the emotional demands of her wealthy family. The young teacher aims to build a life here, to make a lasting place for herself. She doesn’t want to be another Woman Who Once Dated Matt Fletcher. It’s both tempting and dangerous to believe she can be something more.

Then Matt’s brother Luke makes a sudden return home, with a child of his own—and a request that will change all their lives. With a child’s welfare at stake, Matt must turn to Allison to teach him to let go of the past, open his eyes…and follow his heart.

Jayne gave this book a B and recommended it to DA readers. Each book in the series thereafter has been reviewed and recommended, often by different reviewers.

I like that time is divided between Matt and Allison building both a physical relationship and an emotional one. The sex is fun and hot with the two of them obviously getting along in bed yet this didn’t feel like the gratuitous boinking that so often annoys me because it’s included only because it’s expected in today’s romance books. Yes, the smexy comes first, but soon Matt is looking forward to sharing his thoughts and missing the opportunities to talk about his daily problems with Allison when he can’t see her. While she in turn soaks up the family atmosphere around the Fletcher Sunday dinner table and, with Matt’s encouragement, spreads her wings of independence from her controlling parents. I could see them developing the ties of a deep foundation on which to build a future together.

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Mistress of Fortune by Holly WestMistress of Fortune by Holly West. $ .99

From the Jacket Copy:

London, 1678

Isabel, Lady Wilde, a mistress to King Charles II, has a secret: she makes her living disguised as Mistress Ruby, a fortune-teller who caters to London’s elite. It’s a dangerous life among the charlatans, rogues and swindlers who lurk in the city’s dark corners, but to Isabel, the risk is worth the reward.

Until magistrate Sir Edmund Godfrey seeks Mistress Ruby’s counsel and reveals his unwitting involvement in a plot to kill the king. When Isabel’s diary containing dangerous details of his confession is stolen, she knows she must find it before anyone connects her to Mistress Ruby. Especially after Sir Edmund’s corpse is discovered a few days later?

Isabel is sure that whoever stole her diary is Sir Edmund’s killer—and could be part of a conspiracy that leads all the way to the throne. But as she delves deeper into the mystery, not even the king himself may be able to save her.

81,000 words

I think Carina Press mysteries are overlooked despite being really good. They don’t have a name for mysteries…yet. The reviews for this book are largely positive and all of them comment on the smart mixture of both historical fiction and crime fiction. Sunita read a CP mystery the other day and was really impressed both with the mystery but also the well done research. Will historical mysteries be the way forward for historical romances?

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The Marquess of Cake (Redcakes Series #1) by Heather HiestandThe Marquess of Cake (Redcakes Series #1) by Heather Hiestand. $ Free.

From the Jacket Copy:

Coffee. . .tea. . .or a pastry chef sweeter than any confection. . .

Scotch trifle fit for Queen Victoria, scones with clotted cream. . .Alys Redcake knows the way to a man’s heart. Yet she is unaware that with each morsel–and flash of ankle–she is seducing the handsome marquess frequenting her father’s tea shop. Unmarried at twenty-six, Alys’s first love is the family business. But thoughts of the gentleman’s touch are driving her to distraction. . .
With his weakness for sugar, the Marquess of Hatbrook can imagine no more desirable woman than one scented with cake and spice. Mistaking Alys for a mere waitress, he has no doubt she would make a most delicious mistress. And when he finds himself in need of an heir, he plans to make her his convenient bride. Yet as they satisfy their craving for one another, business and pleasure suddenly collide. Will Hatbrook’s passion for sweets–and for Alys–be his heart’s undoing?

We had a really thoughtful review of this book and while it was a C grade, there’s a lot intriguing for the reader.

Michael is a good communicator. He tells her exactly what he wants from her and why (because he’s very attracted to her and she’s smart and he likes that), but she refuses to believe it. Instead, she decides he must want A, but then she thinks he must want B, but then she thinks he must want C, and none of them are what he flat-out told her he wanted at the 58% mark. And she’s doing this for no reason I can tell. It’s as if someone said, “And I want a Big Misunderstanding here.”

After the 58% mark, the rest of the book was an exercise in frustration and I may have acquired whiplash from all of Alys’s back-and-forthing. Because up to that point, everything was progressing logically and I was seriously invested in the story (as in A-grade invested), I was that much more frustrated with the rest of the book.

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