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Daily Deals: From 16th Century sexual politics to Amish Bachelor heaven

The Aviary Gate      by Katie Hickman The Aviary Gate by Katie Hickman . $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

“[This] magical, engrossing…novel of intrigue and forbidden love manages to be both cerebral and entertaining. With all the intricate detail of historical nonfiction and all the pace of romantic drama, this is beautifully written stuff.”—Glamour (UK)

In Oxford’s Bodleian Library, Elizabeth Staveley has found a fragment of ancient paper that may hold the key to a story hidden for four centuries: a British sea captain’s daughter held captive in the sultan’s harem.

Constantinople, 1599. I n the sultan’s palace, the chief eunuch has been poisoned by a beautiful ship made of spun sugar, and a rebellion is rising within the palace’s most private quarters. A British merchant, Paul Pindar, brings a precious gift to the sultan and discovers that the woman he once loved, Celia, may be alive, hidden among the ranks of slaves in the sultan’s harem. Can this really be his shipwrecked Celia? And if it is, can they be reunited?

Steeped in mystery and sexual intrigue, The Aviary Gate transports readers to exotic sixteenth-century Constantinople, offering the rarest glimpse into the forbidden confines of the sultan’s harem.

PW describes it as “Sixteenth-century sexual politics inside the Ottoman sultan’s harem come to life as Hickman (Courtesans) takes her fascination with fallen women into the fictional realm with this historical novel featuring exotic locales and erotic situations. ” The review also cautions “Hickman creates richly described imaginative moments, but like Celia’s early encounters with the sultan, the excitement is never consummated.”

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It Had to Be You (Chicago Stars Series #1)      by     Susan Elizabeth PhillipsIt Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. $ .99

From the Jacket Copy:

The Windy City isn’t quite ready for Phoebe Somerville — the outrageous, curvaceous New York knockout who has just inherited the Chicago Stars football team. And Phoebe is definitely not prepared for the Stars’ head coach Dan Celebow, a sexist jock taskmaster with a one-track mind. Celebow is everything Phoebe abhors. And the sexy new boss is everything Dan despises — a meddling bimbo who doesn’t know a pigskin from a pitcher’s mound.

So why is he drawn to the shameless sexpot like a heat-seeking missile? And why does the coach’s good ol’ boy charm leave cosmopolitan Phoebe feeling awkward, tongue-tied….and ready to fight?

The sexy, heartwarming, and hilarious “prequel” to Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s This Heart of Mine — her sensational bestsellng blockbuster — It Had To Be You is an enchanting story of two stubborn people who believe in playing for keeps.

It seems like so few deals are contemporaries and I wanted to throw this one out there even thought I’ve included it before in a deals posting but that was in September. I’ll repeat what I said then “There is quite a bit wrong in this book, looking back. The slut shaming. The rape trope. But I still enjoy the hell out of it and it’s one of my favorite Phillips books. Plus, you know, football??”

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Blame It on Bath: The Truth About the Duke by     Caroline LindenBlame It on Bath by Caroline Linden. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

A marriage of convenience . . . or of destiny?

Gerard de Lacey is determined to find the man who is blackmailing his family, but with his inheritance and status at risk, a hasty marriage to a wealthy bride also seems in order—just in case things take a turn for the worse. Charismatic and capable, Gerard knows he can win the hand of any lady he chooses. Still, he’s not expecting a rich widow to find him and propose the very thing he wants: a marriage of convenience.

Katherine Howe’s first marriage was one of dreary duty. Now that she’s being pressured to marry her late husband’s heir, she’s desperate for a better option. Gerard de Lacey, with his sinful good looks, charming manner, and looming scandal, fits her needs perfectly. The fact that she’s nursed a secret affection for him only makes it better—and worse. Because Gerard will likely marry her for her fortune—but can he love her for herself, as she loves him?

Janet gave this a B:

For me there was a real sense of relief in reading about two people who wanted to do right by each other but did not completely know how. Katherine soon understands that what she really wants from Gerard is something she might never get, while Gerard is so happy to get what he does from Katherine that he does not think more deeply about his own feelings, or hers, for that matter. She needs to learn how to communicate her emotions more directly, while Gerard needs to get more in touch with his, and that interdependent process creates some friction between them, not all of which kindles desire. The more deeply Katherine falls for Gerard the more embarrassed she becomes by her feelings, while Gerard, who has always enjoyed a kind of popularity and social ease that Katherine has not, becomes more comfortable with Katherine than she does with herself. It’s an interesting dynamic, and one that — while not incredibly deep — has a nice resonance in a relationship that has to grow from the ground up. That Kate does not get a magic makeover and Gerard is a good man but not a perfect husband make the romantic progression of their relationship believable, and it made me want to root for their happiness as equals. It also allowed me to appreciate and enjoy the relationship as a separate entity from the whole Durham Dilemma stuff.

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The Memory Jar  Tricia GoyerThe Memory Jar by Tricia Goyer. $ 1.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

Every year, 30–40 young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive ‘resident’ status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides!

Sarah Shelter has lived in West Kootenai for the last ten years and wonders if she will ever fall in love. Since the tragic death of her best friend, she carries her memories in a jar along with the small items connected to them. For just as long, she’s also been carrying around her emotions instead of allowing them to penetrate deep into her heart.
Now she’s met a kind and gentle man who may be able to break down the wall. But can Sarah risk her heart to finally achieve her dreams?

Reviewers say that the story is very sweet and celebrates the simplicity of life. If you like small town romances, maybe this small community romance would hit the spot.

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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

One Comment

  1. Iola
    Jan 24, 2013 @ 20:24:36

    I’d be interesting in what your readers have to say about Amish romances. I read a lot of Christian romance, but tend to avoid the Amish ones because the heroines are usually teenagers and very naive (due to their sheltered upbringing), and most heroines cross the line from naive to stupid. IMO.

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