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Daily Deals: Marriage of convenience, friends with benefits, and weak heroines

Jake's Bride (Search For Love)  by Karen Rose SmithJake’s Bride (Search For Love) by Karen Rose Smith. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

JAKE’S BRIDE is Book 2 in Karen Rose Smith’s Search For Love series.

Contemporary marriage of convenience

Could Jake ever trust Sara again? Sara Standish knew private investigator Jake Donovan didn’t want children. He’d lost his wife and child and his anguish was obvious. With their wedding only days away, she discovered she was pregnant. Should she marry Jake and trap him with a child he might not want? She loved him too much to do that so she called off their wedding and left Los Angeles without telling him about her pregnancy. Now four years later, a letter from her mother helps her realize she made a terrible mistake. Jake deserves to know he has a son. When Sara tells Jake the truth, she sees the sense of betrayal in his eyes. He will never be able to trust her again. But when he asks her to marry him for the sake of their son, she hopes her love can heal them both.

Although Jake has hardened his heart against Sara’s beauty and gentle nature, he knows he wants to be a father to his son. The only way to do that? Marriage. But he doesn’t expect to be caught in the web of loving Sara again. With Christmas near, can they really become a family? Only if he can leave the past behind. Can the traditions of Christmas make Jake whole? No, but maybe love can.

(First edition published under the title Shane’s Bride with Silhouette Books. JAKE’S BRIDE has been revised and updated.)

There’s something about the cover, mostly the font and probably the blue sky background, that gives this book an unpolished feel and I almost didn’t include it until I’d read that it was previously published as Shane’s Bride under Silhouette Books. But I wonder why the names were changed? Anyone remember reading this?

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Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart by Leanna Renee Hieber. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

I’m coming for you.

The whispers haunt her dreams and fill her waking hours with dread. Something odd is happening. Something…unnatural.

Possession of the living. Resurrection of the dead. And Natalie Stewart is caught right in the middle. Jonathon, the one person she thought she could trust, has become a double agent for the dark side. But he plays the part so well, Natalie has to wonder just how much he’s really acting.

She can’t even see what it is she’s fighting. But the cost of losing her heart, her sanity…her soul.

This is book 2 in the series and one reviewer felt that it was a poor follow up to the intriguing first book.

The first is that Darker Still had a very intriguing and well-written plot: Lord Denbury’s imprisonment in the painting, Natalie’s inability to communicate due to being mute, a murder mystery on the streets of Victorian New York. The plot of the sequel, however, is muddled, convoluted and not very entertaining. The “big reveal” at the end of the novel is very anti-climactic, and the build-up to that point is lackluster. Characters are introduced then never really expanded upon, and the romance between Natalie and Lord Denbury doesn’t really go anywhere. The charm of the setting in Darker Still is also absent, with little attention given to the Victorian surroundings and sensibilities that the author obviously cares for. There is an attempt at a cliffhanger that does little to motivate the reader to want to pick up the third novel which is set to be released in November of 2013.

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What Happens Between Friends (Harlequin Super Romance Series #1866) by Beth AndrewsWhat Happens Between Friends by Beth Andrews. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Friends?with benefits?

For Sadie Nixon, life is one big adventure with something new around the corner. And anytime she needs a break, she can always rely on James Montesano—the best guy she knows. This time when she arrives in Shady Grove, however, something is different. There’s a little extra between her and James that has them crossing the line of friendship into one steamy, no-holds-barred night.

Afterward, no matter how hard she tries, Sadie can’t erase the memories of James that way. He’s so hot, so tempting?. But his life is here and hers isn’t. She needs his friendship, but she doesn’t do commitment. So where does that leave them? Suddenly what happens between friends is more complicated than ever!

Beth Andrews books have always been a mixed bag for me, but her writing is interesting. I think she’s trying to challenge a lot of status quos within the genre and I appreciate that. Sometimes it works for me. I’m going to give this a try.

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Gail McHugh CollideCollide by Gail McHugh. $ .99.

From the Jacket Copy:

A New York Times and USA Today Bestseller

(Collide is book one of a two part series. Pulse, the sequel, is available now)

**Warning** If you do not like female leads who are severely flawed, human and find themselves weak during the most trying times of their lives… you will not like Collide. If you’re looking for a read with a strong heroine… you will not find her here. Collide centers around mental abuse. This mental abuse affects said heroine in Collide. She loses her voice as do millions of women in the same circumstance. Fear and feeling indebted to someone you love can hold you prisoner, its heavy chains without question can anchor you to its poison. However, if you’re looking for a series that you can witness a heroine learn from her mistakes, no longer fear her aggressor, and blossom into what she’s meant to be with an amazing man by her side, this might turn out to be your cup of tea. This series is about a female who rises above her flaws as a human being. It’s about allowing herself to be loved the way she truly deserves.

A missed first encounter…

Colliding with a second chance…

On the heels of graduating college and trying to cope with her mother’s death, Emily Cooper moves to New York City for a fresh start.

While harboring secrets of his own, Dillon Parker takes care of Emily through her grief. Knowing he can’t live without her by his side, he’s sweet, thoughtful, and everything Emily has ever wanted in a man.

Until she meets Gavin Blake—a rich and notorious playboy who is dangerously sexy and charming as hell. Emily tries to deny the instant connection she feels, but Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome is not inclined to let go so easily. Recovering from his own painful past, Gavin will stop at nothing to win Emily over.

This unexpected encounter compels Emily to question her decisions, forcing her to make a choice that will destroy friendships, shatter hearts, and forever change her life.

The two books in this series, Pulse and Collide, are on sale for 99c. The author says this is for one day only. These two books have lingered in the top 20 since the second book’s release on July 9. The reviews indicate that Emily, the heroine, is a complete doormat and at the end of the first story, Collide,

Spoiler (spoiler): Show

there is a rape of the heroine by her abusive boyfriend.

I think it is interesting that the “warning” or blurb addresses these complaints directly.  I’m of two minds about these warnings.  Often times they come off as a little FU to the reviews rather than a genuine caution.  Kind of like saying that the reader is a close minded, judgmental wench.

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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


  1. JJPP
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 14:22:57

    My reaction to the blurb for Jake’s Bride: Who does that?? I can maybe understand not telling someone you’re having his baby if that person is not in your life and you don’t want him to be. Like, if you had a one night stand and he’s not daddy material, but you want to have that baby. (Others may disagree with me, but I could understand either choice in that situation.)

    But… you find out you’re pregnant with Mr. Right’s baby on the eve of your wedding, and you… just leave? That’s horribly cruel to not give him a say in the matter, even IF he has always said he doesn’t want kids!

    Sorry, I guess the Secret Baby has become a bit of a pet peeve of mine. :)

  2. SusanS
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 14:25:41

    FYI – your spoiler is showing – I think coding is a little messed up (at least on my IE).

  3. Jayne
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 14:31:17

    @SusanS: Thanks, I think I got it fixed.

  4. Jane
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 14:55:42

    @SusanS: Sorry and thanks Jayne.

  5. Jennie
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 15:19:26

    @JJPP: That was my thought as well. The heroine sounds like an idiot; I want to say that what she did was awful, but I get the sense she did it more out of self-sacrificing stupidity than anything else. Ugh. The plot reminds me a bit of Linda Howard’s Sarah’s Child, a book I disliked for the wishy-washiness of the saintly heroine.

  6. cleo
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 15:27:23

    I don’t know what to make of the tone of the warning / blurb for the McHugh book. To me it comes across as very defensive (kind of like – I’m tired of you people complaining about this, so I’m just telling you now, don’t expect a strong heroine) with a slight side helping of FU if you don’t get it / like it. Honestly, the educator in me wants to send it back for a re-write.

  7. Jane
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 15:29:37

    @JJPP: I’m not sure when the original publication date is/was but it might be more reflective of the time period. Back in the day there was a more common belief that dad’s didn’t care about custody as much as women.

    These days my secret baby trope stick is very short and I have a hard time understanding the heroine’s decisions. 30 years ago in the 80s? Maybe not so much.

  8. cleo
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 16:01:26

    The most useful/interesting explanation of the secret baby trope that I’ve come across is that it was a way to sneak sex into categories in the 70s and 80s – because you (usually) have to have sex to make a baby (

    I personally have almost no tolerance for this trope, although I guess I’ve enjoyed a couple of them. This one sounds particularly bad.

    ETA – looks like Shane’s Bride was published in 1995.

  9. Carolyne
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 16:10:36

    I was at least curious enough to check on the Amazon reviews for Pulse and Collide, but didn’t see either book for .99 on Amazon or B&N. But I don’t think they’re for me anyway. Not because of the heroine (a journey from having no agency to self respect and strength would be an excellent plot), but because enough of the reviews were specific enough to make me hesitant. Maaaybe I’d try one at .99. More likely I’d sample one if it were free… which of course isn’t helpful for an author to make a living.

  10. Jenny
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 17:13:52

    The warning really puts me off the book. It feels entirely too defensive and suggests that people that don’t care for her heroine are somehow unfeeling or just flat-out wrong.

  11. Anita Walters
    Aug 09, 2013 @ 02:26:21

    I actually just read pulse and collide a couple days before I saw this. I liked both of them, the writing was good, and while the heroine wasn’t the strongest person ever, she was a fairly realistic version of someone who is emotionally abused. I did feel like towards the end of collide and all of push she was a lot stronger and she developed for me as a character, there was still some ridiculousness but overall I liked it!

  12. Liz H.
    Aug 09, 2013 @ 04:19:07

    The warning for Collide really puts me off. The author is dealing with a very serious issue, and if that’s how she views abuse victims- “seriously flawed” and “weak”- I strongly disagree with the way she’s addressing it.

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