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Daily Deals: Suspense, Magical Realism, Fantasy and Medieval all for $2.99

Out of Time by Samantha GravesOut of Time by Samantha Graves. $2.99

This is a mix of paranormal and romantic suspense.  I thought I had read this book but I searched the archives for the author’s name and came up empty.  Apparently, though, it was a 2009 RITA nominee for contemporary. You can see how important the industry views the awards by the prevalence of the award in the jacket copy. Or on the cover.  Okay, none at all but Forever has put out great romantic suspense authors like Annie Solomon, Kate Brady, and Karen Rose so it’s not such a great risk to give Samantha Graves a try at this price. Plus, her name sounds like a romantic suspense author’s name.


For museum curator Jillian Talbot, her ability to see an object’s history is her little secret. She never expects it to land her in the middle of a deadly battle for money and power between dangerous underground elements. The object of their greed: an ancient crystal lens that can unlock mysteries from the past… but only for someone with the sight. The one person who doesn’t seem to want her dead is a cynical tomb raider who Jillian can only hope is worthy of her trust…

Simon Bonner has paid the last of his debts and is out of the looting game…until the lens lands on his doorstep. The other half of the crystal’s secret is locked inside the eyes of a straitlaced psychic who still believes in doing the right thing. Now he must track the mystery deep into Mexico, where his desire to stay alive and his growing passion for the sexy seer make every move a dance with danger.

Tomorrow could be history.


Rainshadow Road by Lisa KleypasRainshadow Road
by Lisa Kleypas $2.99

I enjoyed this book seemingly more than any one else in the blogosphere (or in the comments). I recognize that the magical realism element is kind of pasted on top but I still love Kleypas’ characterizations. I reviewed the book here. I’m a real fan of Kleypas’ characters. They are decent and likable and there’s a lot to be said for that in the era of the alpha hole.

Lucy Marinn is a glass artist living in mystical, beautiful, Friday Harbor, Washington. She is stunned and blindsided by the most bitter kind of betrayal: her fiancé Kevin has left her. His new lover is Lucy’s own sister. Lucy’s bitterness over being dumped is multiplied by the fact that she has constantly made the wrong choices in her romantic life. Facing the severe disapproval of Lucy’s parents, Kevin asks his friend Sam Nolan, a local vineyard owner on San Juan Island, to “romance” Lucy and hopefully loosen her up and get her over her anger. Complications ensue when Sam and Lucy begin to fall in love, Kevin has second thoughts, and Lucy discovers that the new relationship in her life began under false pretenses. Questions about love, loyalty, old patterns, mistakes, and new beginnings are explored as Lucy learns that some things in life—even after being broken—can be made into something new and beautiful.


Night of Knives (Malazan Empire Series #1) by Ian C. EsslemontNight of Knives (Malazan Empire Series #1) by Ian C. Esslemont. $2.99

I don’t know much about this book. Okay, nothing, but it did receive a starred review.  And the title and blurb sounded cool. Who can resist the pairing of the young ingenue and the world weary veteran?  Apparently not even fantasy readers.

The small island of Malaz and its city gave the great empire its name, but now it is little more than a sleepy, backwater port. Tonight, however, things are different. Tonight the city is on edge, a hive of hurried, sometimes violent activity; its citizens bustle about, barring doors, shuttering windows, avoiding any stranger’s stare. Because tonight there is to be a convergence, the once-in-a-generation appearance of a Shadow Moon – an occasion that threatens the good people of Malaz with demon hounds and other, darker things …

It was also prophesied that this night would witness the return of Emperor Kellanved, and there are those prepared to do anything to prevent this happening. As factions within the greater Empire draw up battle lines over the imperial throne, the Shadow Moon summons a far more ancient and potent presence for an all-out assault upon the island. Witnessing these cataclysmic events are Kiska, a young girl who yearns to flee the constraints of the city, and Temper, a grizzled, battle-weary veteran who seeks simply to escape his past. Each is to play a part in a conflict that will not only determine the fate of Malaz City, but also of the world beyond …

Drawing on events touched on in the prologue of Steven Erikson’s landmark fantasy Gardens of the Moon, Night of Knives is a momentous chapter.


Kris Kennedy DefiantDefiant by Kris Kennedy. $2.99

Medievals have been out of vogue for some time so the market isn’t exactly bursting with choice.  Kris Kennedy’s books are some of the better ones in the time period being published today. I reviewed The Conqueror by Kennedy back in 2009 and enjoyed it. 

A rogue knight and an enchanting renegade join forces to right old wrongs in award-winning author Kris Kennedy’s sizzling new medieval romance.

A warrior with questionable intentions . . .

Jamie Lost is the king’s most renowned commander, a fearless lieutenant ordered to kidnap an exiled priest before rebel forces close in. The mission is simple—until he meets a mysterious thief who will steal his quarry and then his heart.

A lady of remarkable courage . . .

Beautiful Eva is also seeking Father Peter, but she intends to protect him from a secret that could cost him his life. She senses that she, too, should fear Jamie—not just for his wickedly sharp sword and dangerously muscular body, but for the powerful longing he ignites within her.

A secret that could overthrow the king.

When a band of mercenaries abducts the priest, Jamie and Eva must form a volatile alliance. As civil war unfolds around them, they embark on an epic journey that betrays the truth about their hidden identities, their unexpected loyalties, and the simmering attraction that could seal their fates forever.


Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Cecelia
    Jun 29, 2012 @ 16:04:11

    Oh! I LIKED Rainshadow Road, quite a lot! So there, you have a fellow reader who doesn’t think you’re insane. Not a huge fan of Kleypas across the board, but I liked that one.

  2. Patricia
    Jun 29, 2012 @ 16:18:07

    I also liked Rainshadow Road much more than other people appeared to. At $2.99, it’s a fantastic bargain. I’d snap it up if I hadn’t already bought it months ago.

  3. Mikaela
    Jun 29, 2012 @ 16:32:55

    Rainshadow Road is on my wishlist. So, yay! I’ll buy it on monday.

    Oh, and I just discovered that Tricked Truths by Beth Kery is free on

  4. Mikaela
    Jun 29, 2012 @ 16:35:04

    @Mikaela: Gah. So much for my attempt to use tags. sigh. Anyway, it is free on Smashwords.

  5. cleo
    Jun 29, 2012 @ 16:42:16

    Boo. Rainshadow Road is still listed as $9.99 at BN. But in other news, I like this new format pretty well – much less overwhelming, much less decision fatigue.

  6. Sunita
    Jun 29, 2012 @ 16:54:43

    I can vouch for the Esslemont. I haven’t read it, but TheHusband is a huge fan of the Malazan series. Esslemont and Steven Erikson created this world together. Erikson has just finished a mammoth 10-volume series and this is the first volume of Esslemont’s novels. I don’t know if they share characters, but I’m pretty sure you can read the Esslemont before the Erikson (or apart from the Erikson) books, especially since they are set before the first of Erikson’s.

    TheH says that the Esslemont novels aren’t quite as good as the Eriksons, but that’s a high bar for him, and he’s still read all the ones that have been published so far. So I take that as a recommendation.

    Oh, the genre is dark fantasy.

  7. srs
    Jun 29, 2012 @ 18:40:35

    I’m also chiming in to say how much better I like this formatting than the old one. Much less overwhelming.

    And medievals are my secret romance novel vice. I love them, but they are usually so very, very bad. I’ll have to check this one out.

  8. Dabney
    Jun 29, 2012 @ 20:11:14

    My eldest son–21–has read all the Malazan books and loves them. He says they are very dark–more so than the Martin books–and that the world building is extraordinary.

  9. Sunita
    Jun 29, 2012 @ 22:15:24

    @Dabney: If your son is a fan, then you will sympathize with me having to accompany TheH to *every* bookstore in central London years ago, looking for a copy of the 6th in the series (for some reason we have to have the UK versions). We finally found a trade paperback. In the rain and darkness. It was very satisfying.

    I read the first two books of Erikson’s series and thought they were terrific, but they are definitely very dark and they take a lot of concentration. They are also 800-1200 pages apiece. The Esslemont books are shorter and I understand they are somewhat more accessible. I keep meaning to read one, but the TBR is already tilting madly.

  10. Jane
    Jun 29, 2012 @ 22:31:21

    @Cecelia and @Patricia: I’ll be interested to hear what you think of Dream Lake. It didn’t work as well for me. It had a ghost in it and the ghost played an integral role. Ghosts just aren’t my thing.

    @Mikaela: Hope you enjoy it.

    @cleo: This is set by the publisher so my guess is that BN is just slow to flip the switch and it will be $2.99 shortly.

    @srs: Thanks for the feedback. It seems most people like this format better.

  11. lucy
    Jun 29, 2012 @ 22:34:39

    Night of Knives is ~$4.50 at Kobo/Amazon and full price at BN in Canada. Still somewhat cheap, but I think I’ll just add it to my to-buy list.

  12. Brian
    Jun 29, 2012 @ 23:15:00

    I remember Night of Knives being good (of course I was already a Malazan nut by then). I seem to remember having to get my hard copy from the small pub PS publishing in the UK as it was the only way to get it originally. Will be glad to grab the ebook for $3.

  13. Cara Ellison
    Jun 29, 2012 @ 23:33:40

    I just bought Samantha Graves’ book. Sounds excellent!

  14. Violetta Vane
    Jun 29, 2012 @ 23:47:13

    I liked the worldbuilding in the first Malazan book by Erikson, and the sense of horror, but the pace and plotting were awful. The end read like a button-mashing video game climax. Someone told me the second one improves a lot in terms of structure, so I decided to give it a chance… and then realized that every single human female character was totally defined by a rape-backstory. I gave up about fifty pages from the end and never read another. It really flipped all my switches in a way that other rape-heavy stuff like GRRM does not… perhaps because he has so many female characters that some of them don’t get raped, and some of the ones that do actually have personality traits that aren’t narratively attributed to being raped.

  15. Sunita
    Jun 30, 2012 @ 09:42:35

    @Violetta Vane: I’ve seen other complaints about the first book, but I really enjoyed it. It’s confusing, but I assumed that was the intention given the other books don’t have the same structure, and I just went with it. One of the reasons I didn’t move on to the third was that the second felt so unrelentingly grim. I didn’t count to see if every female character had a rape backstory, but there was one female character whose story was really difficult to read and the sense of being at war was overwhelming (as were the war scenes). It’s the story (the war, I mean) that carries the series, so no surprise there, and I hear it gets less oppressive as you go on. I was really struck by the world-building, though.

    Horses for courses. I was the opposite from you. I had less trouble with the way Erikson dealt with female characters than I did with GRRM. Maybe because the way the latter’s female characters were depicted overall, I didn’t think the rape and other women-centric horrors would be quite so front and center and unrelenting. I read the first three and refused to read #4 until #5 came out. Now I just don’t care enough to go back.

    Speaking of GRRM, KMont has a must-read, thought-provoking piece up at her blog, Lurv a la Mode, about female characters in GRRM’s first two books:

  16. Tina
    Jun 30, 2012 @ 09:49:20

    @Violetta – Admittedly I read the series years ago and stopped at about book five, but besides Felisin who else was raped? My overwhelming images of the women in the book are of the shadowy, Empress Laseen, her cold adjunct Tavore, the must-live-at-all-costs Tattersail, and the possessed Apsalar. I don’t remember any of them having a rape back-story.

    I remember loving the series. Just loving it. Like GRRM’s series, I think this one really hits it’s stride at book 3. Brilliant book. But then I got weary. Each book is HUGE. Like 800, 900 pages. And time is not linear. He goes back and forth and parralell. You really have to pay attention. Also, the series is unrelentingly about war. There is no other softener in there. Whereas GRRM’s series has some soapy and even some domestic elements, Malazan has none.

  17. Tina
    Jun 30, 2012 @ 09:53:34

    Sorry for the second post… no edit button.

    Meant to mention that I am adoring Lisa Kelypas’s Friday harbor series. I love the light touch of magic she has been infusing in the story. I was an early reviewer of the third book, Dream Lake, and I really love how she incorporated the magic there as well.

  18. Dabney
    Jun 30, 2012 @ 10:50:47

    @Sunita: Honestly, I couldn’t get into them. The story line is so diffuse. I think when I tried, I had too much going on in my life and needed easier fare to follow!

  19. Violetta Vane (@ViolettaVane)
    Jun 30, 2012 @ 14:18:40

    @Tina: @Sunita:

    I had to check a wiki to remember the names. But I counted three. Felisin, of course, who is presented as a totally traumatized, vicious and borderline suicidal (all because she was raped), and keeps daring one of her protectors to rape her until he, umm, gives in and rapes her?!? Then a woman named Minala who was presented as tough because her husband kept raping her and she didn’t die or she killed him or something (I don’t remember) and then Apsalar, who was mind-raped.

    I liked Tattersail in the first book, so I was quite disappointed once I realized that this reasonably competent, non-boring (Tavore and all the many “living weapon” characters struck me as boring quasi-robots) and non-rape-backstoried female character was never going to reappear.

    The two rape tropes I absolutely can’t handle are rape-as-sole-backstory and rape->love—the Malazan #2 book hit the first hard and threatened the second, so I bailed before it got the chance to go there. I’ve got a higher tolerance for some of the other rape tropes. Although I haven’t finished Dance with Dragons… last year, I thought I was looking forward to it, but once I started it, I realized I’d stopped caring about some of the key characters because of their violence against women or their deep lack of caring about violence against women. I honestly don’t know if I’m ever going to finish it now, sigh.

  20. Lauren Smith
    Jul 02, 2012 @ 00:41:30

    Lisa Kleypas is always worth reading. Some are hits and some are near misses, but worth reading. I suggest another book that is full of suspense, intrigue, and action. It is called, “The Rx Factor” by author J. Thomas Shaw. This is a fiction medical thriller, which is about a failed cancer researcher who meets a female scientist who reignites his passion and interest in medical researcher when she decides to open a low cost clinic in Mexico for terminally ill patients. She plans to offer them an experimental medication. An explosion on the island leads them into a journey of twists and turns as they discover that the United States Government will stop at nothing to block their efforts.

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