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Daily Deals: A repeat steampunk, a hardboiled detective novel, a weak...

Started Early, Took My Dog (Jackson Brodie Series #4)      by     Kate Atkinson Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Tracy Waterhouse leads a quiet, ordered life as a retired police detective-a life that takes a surprising turn when she encounters Kelly Cross, a habitual offender, dragging a young child through town. Both appear miserable and better off without each other-or so decides Tracy, in a snap decision that surprises herself as much as Kelly. Suddenly burdened with a small child, Tracy soon learns her parental inexperience is actually the least of her problems, as much larger ones loom for her and her young charge.

Meanwhile, Jackson Brodie, the beloved detective of novels such as Case Histories, is embarking on a different sort of rescue-that of an abused dog. Dog in tow, Jackson is about to learn, along with Tracy, that no good deed goes unpunished.

Reviewer Pattie writes “Here’s the thing: if you want everything tied up in a neat package: no. If you want a linear narrative: no. “Easy read”: no.

But if you love interesting, complex characters, complex stories and delightful writing: yes.”

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Treading Water, The Treading Water Series, Book 1Treading Water by Marie Force. $ .99

From the Jacket Copy:

Love is the last thing on Jack Harrington’s mind when he sets out to meet Andi Walsh’s flight. Recently back to work after spending more than a year tending to his comatose wife, Jack is focused on getting through each day and caring for his three daughters. However, the moment he sets eyes on Andrea Walsh, the interior designer who has come to decorate the hotel his company is building in Newport, Rhode Island, Jack begins to wonder if Andi might be his second chance. After a disastrous marriage, Andi, single mom to a hearing-impaired son, isn’t exactly looking for love, either, but that’s what she finds with Jack. The two embark on a long-distance relationship fraught with challenges as they balance the needs of their children and dueling careers while Jack continues to care for his wife, Clare. Just when Jack thinks his life is once again settled, he is confronted with a new challenge that tests him in ways he never could’ve imagined, leaving him to wonder if “happily ever after” is in the cards for him.

This book is full of melodrama according to the reviews. Jack refuses to divorce his comatose wife but begins a new relationship with another woman and they fall in love. So it’s like the opposite of the story “The Vow”. Read Tina’s review here. [spoiler] Jack doesn’t actually get a divorce until the comatose wife wakes up and makes it right for him. [/spoiler]

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God Save the Queen (The Immortal Empire) by Kate LockeGod Save the Queen by Kate Locke. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Queen Victoria rules with an immortal fist.

The undead matriarch of a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath), Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day, and leeches are considered a delicacy. And a world where technology lives side by side with magic. The year is 2012.

Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it is her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But when her sister goes missing, Xandra will set out on a path that undermines everything she believed in and uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire. And she is the key-the prize in a very dangerous struggle.

Kate Locke is the penname for historical romance author Kathryn Smith. This book was profiled here back in January 2013 when the price was $2.99. Reader Kate wrote: “I got an ARC of God Save the Queen and highly recommend it. I’m not sure it’s exactly steampunk, in that it’s set in the twenty-first century with Queen Victoria still alive, not the Victorian era. So it’s kind of steampunk in reverse, with elements of Victorian culture being kept alive by long lived vampire and werewolf aristocracy, not anachronistic technology injected into the 19th century, and it would probably appeal to fans of steampunk and modern urban fantasy. “

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The Lady Risks All      By: Stephanie LaurensThe Lady Risks All by Stephanie Laurens. $ 1.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae, romance fiction superstar Stephanie Laurens has done it again with this passionate tale of an oh-so-proper lady and the dangerous man for whom she throws caution to the wind. The Lady Risks All in this delightfully sexy and sensuous historical romance novel from the creator of the recklessly romantic Cynster family—Regency England’s most irrepressible clan of sexy rogues and ladies—as well as the acclaimed Bastion Club books. The notorious Neville Roscoe, who lives boldly outside the bounds of proper society, is one of Laurens’s most unforgettable heroes—and the story of his seduction of prim, straight-laced Miranda Clifford is filled with intrigue, danger, and passion that will thrill not only Stephanie Laurens fans, but devoted readers of Lisa Kleypas, Johanna Lindsey, and Mary Balogh as well.

Dabney reviewed this book for us back in October 2012 “In many ways, this is a typical Laurens book—although it differs in one excellent way. The man has enough sexual experience to train several brothels; the virginal heroine is so responsive to his touch it’s a wonder she can hold hands without sexually exploding. There is a large family with enough wealth to rescue at least part of the Greek economy. The language, especially that of the love scenes, is intricate and studded with fragments. The sex scenes go on forever.”

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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. Tisha
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 14:36:41

    Why so harsh on the Marie Force book? There are tons of 4 and 5 star reviews on Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon, yet you link to a 3-star review. Just because people may not agree with the path the character took, doesn’t necessarily make him weak. Until one finds themselves in a similar position, it is impossible to know what we would do ourselves or what we would expect our spouses to do. I think it’s actually refreshing for an author to write about a conflicted character who is faced with a horrific life-changing event and doesn’t quite know how to handle it. It would have been easy for Jack to quickly make decisions and know exactly what to do, but how realistic is that? I loved that this book made me challenge what I had assumed would be an easy decision. I was as conflicted as Jack was! Does that make me or him weak? No, it makes us human.

  2. Chris Stevens
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 14:44:25

    Treading Water by Marie Force is an incredible book. Jack, the main character, is put into an impossible situation where his wife is comatose and was told by doctors not to expect recovery, to the point that they wanted to consider ending her life. Jack refused but after over a year, had to start to move on with his own life despite his own reluctance. In walks Andi, a collegue, who he wasn’t looking to have a connection with but had anyway. She knew the situation he was in with his comatose wife but chose to pursue a relationship with him anyway.

    No melodrama was involved, just a bad real life style situation that sucked for everyone. Jack was loyal to his wife, who in the end let him go so they could both start new. Before judging this book, look at all the reviews, not just the very few who could not relate to the situation.

  3. ms bookjunkie
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 16:01:26

    TREADING WATER is amazing. Get thee to clicking!

  4. Andrea J
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 16:14:49

    I guess to each his own but I love Jack. I especially love that he is a broken man who is torn between what he desires and wants to what he feels is his duty. No relationship is perfect and Jack is working so hard to make sure all of the women in his life are getting what they need, never putting what he needs first. When he does that he is then deemed a cheater & aldulterer? I guess by definition yes but what was the alternative? Divorce his comatose wife just so he wasn’t labeled incorrectly? Because, then his label would be bastard and that’s not any better.

    I would recommend you continue with the series and see for yourself the kind of man that Jack is/becomes. The kind of man we could all hope to love us.

  5. Jane
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 16:17:41

    I’m taken aback by the comments of the ardent Marie Force fans here. The deals post is where I pick deals and then I provide the blurb – which is some kind of pro comment on why people should buy the book. Then I provide an opinion that I hope helps people decide whether it is a deal that they should purchase.

    I appreciate that Force’s fans might feel differently; however, I am trying to present an even handed presentation given that the suggestion is inherent in this post that people should part with their hard earned money.

  6. Ridley
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 16:38:01

    Man, if this sort of shit fan ambush befalls someone listing the book as a daily deal, I wonder what abuse they heap on critical reviewers.

    I’m not interested in finding out, so Force is now on my avoid list. Life’s too short for this nonsense.

  7. Ros
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 16:47:03

    @Tisha: Who was harsh, where? I saw a link to a book that’s on a deal at the moment, with its blurb, and a couple of sentences about the plot. If you don’t like the 3* review, go and harass that reviewer. I mean, DON’T, because reviewers don’t deserve to be harassed either. But seriously? If you think this is harsh, you’ve been living in a cotton-wool bubble.

  8. Chris Stevens
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 16:47:13

    Jane per your comment “, I am trying to present an even handed presentation given that the suggestion is inherent in this post that people should part with their hard earned money.”
    How is linking to a 3 star review out of 71 total reviews for this book, the majority being 4-5 star reviews even handed presentation exactly? I totally understand wanting to give the readers a fair view but linking to this review without looking at the overall picture isn’t fair reporting of anything. This would be why the fan base or anyone else who looks at the overall reviews on goodreads for this book is responding to such an unfair representation. Report an unbiased, fair representation of a book looking at all the reviews and you wouldn’t get backlash.

  9. Jane
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 16:50:50

    @Chris Stevens: I thought the review was unbiased and fair. I don’t think fan backlash works like you think it does. I think fan backlash reflects poorly on the author that you are trying to defend.

    I can appreciate that you love this book but it is possible to say “I love this book” without denigrating other people’s opinions. I’m sure you would agree that everyone’s opinion has the same value as yours does, right? And that they are entitled to view every book in their own way?

    My goal in the deal’s post is to point out anything that I think might be adverse to the readers. It is up to them to decide whether that “deal” is right for them. We’ve had several deal posts where people come and say “X Book really worked for me and the issues that the reviewer mentioned didn’t bother me at all.”

    That’s a far cry from a few of the above.

  10. Courtney Milan
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 17:08:52

    @Chris Stevens:

    I read the deal posts here regularly, and this is the usual style of presentation. I think it’s generally understood that when a book is mentioned here and is thus chosen out of all the many hundreds of books that are on sale at any given point, that book is one that has lots of good reviews. The fact of picking the book in the first place serves as a positive recommendation.

  11. LJD
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 17:09:24


    Yeah, really. And the linked review begins “I liked this book quite a bit despite…”

    And personally, I usually skip right to the 3* reviews on Goodreads (then, 2* reviews) because I find those are most likely to help me decide if I want to buy the book. 5* reviews might be useful if you are a fan of the particular reviewer and trust him/her, but in general, I find them completely useless. It’s the lower reviews, in which I get to hear about potential problems with the book/reasons I won’t like it, that are most helpful when making my decision. 1* reviews sometimes include a fair number by people with an ax to grind, so I often ignore those, too.

    So I really don’t care how many 5* reviews there are. The overall rating on Goodreads might factor in a little, but not much. For me, THE most useful part of Goodreads is reading the 2-3* reviews.

  12. CG
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 17:11:12

    If you’re at all familiar with the Daily Deals post you’ll know that Jane usually points out areas that may be problematic or a trigger for some readers. And I would say having an affair while your wife of 20-years is in a coma is pretty fucking problematic for me. So thanks, Jane, I think I’ll skip this one no matter how sensitively it’s handled.

    Report an unbiased, fair representation of a book looking at all the reviews and you wouldn’t get backlash.

    Yeah, because all those squeeing fangirl reviews are completely unbiased. *rolls eyes* I pretty much search out the 3-star reviews rather than the 4 or 5-star because they tend to be more informative and balanced to me than the excessive gushing of an author’s squeeing fans.

  13. Cheryl
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 17:47:37

    Thanks for linking to the spoiler review for “Treading Water”, Jane. Even at the low price, that would not be something I’d like to read. As a matter of fact, I would prefer to re-read Nicholas Sparks’ “The Choice”. At least that one gives me a HEA. Which is ironic considering it’s Nicholas Sparks and the man loves nothing more than to turn his stories into “tragedies”. lol

    I get some readers would be okay with the hero’s choice. Different strokes for different folks and all that. Just so happens I’m not one of those people who would dig it.

  14. Elyssa Patrick
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 17:57:00

    I’m surprised by the backlash, too. I mean, being listed as a Daily Deal is really good for sales—and I speak from experience on this.

    But anyway thanks for the warning on the Marie Force book—I would definitely have a problem with that particular storyline. The Kate Atkinson book sounds interesting though.

  15. Tina
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 18:21:19

    Oh Dear. People prolly shouldn’t read my review of The Fall because, dude, I rip that book a new asshole. And I am a stone cold Marie Force fan-girl.

    But seriously, of all the things people could take issue with in that review, I find that my classifying what Jack does as adultery to be the kicker is bizarre. It is, like, fact and stuff. And it isn’t even the thing I have an issue with in the book.

  16. Sharon
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 18:45:12

    I’ll come right out and state up front that I am a fan of Marie Force’s work. With the exception of one book that I had some issues with, I love her writing style and her books. I enjoyed this book because it showed an impossible situation that affected the whole family and eventually two families. I like that it wasn’t an “easy” story, there was heartache and some very tough choices and issues that all parties involved had to deal with throughout the course of this book (and series). While I don’t condone adultery, Jack has been told that his wife will never regain consciousness but because of his children he makes the choice to never divorce her. I can understand his thinking when he embarks on a new relationship especially when he’s being encouraged by everyone around him to move on and get on with his life. I had some problems with the story but overall it is a very good read (a 4 for me) and the books that follow this one in the series are even better. As for Jack, I didn’t love him and I didn’t hate him. I do think he was in an impossible situation but to be honest, I would have liked him better if he would have manned up and asked Claire for the divorce instead of her giving it to him. While I felt for Andi, she knew what she was getting into when she got involved with Jack. She accepted the fact he was married and would never divorce his comatose wife, that was her choice. Claire is the one who I felt the most for and I admire her for being strong in an impossible situation. I think there were better reviews you could have picked for your article but I also want you to understand that even though I’m a fan, I’m not over the top in love with this book.

  17. Anne
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 19:48:07

    Kate Atkinson is an auto buy for me but I wait to read her until I feel up to the challenge. I describe the Jackson Brodie series as literary crime fiction. Incredibly detailed puzzle pieces (or unbelievable coincidences) to be put together. I savor every minute spent with these books yet I don’t know anyone in real life that can stand the authors style.

    As great a price this one is though, it is the fourth in the series and I’d recommend starting with Case Histories. Jason Isaacs starred in the Masterpiece Theatre adaptation so some may be familiar with the story. Just disregard all the changes they made.

    I’ve received notices that most of her earlier, stand alone books are now available for digital preorder. I’m looking forward to seeing how these compare to the Brodie series.

  18. MaryK
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 20:11:26

    Fortunately, Dear Author is not about promoting books for authors. It’s about giving readers relevant information so we can determine whether a book is right for us.

  19. Meoskop
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 20:12:42

    Oh hey, guess I am NEVER reading Marie Force.

    Good to know.

  20. leftcoaster
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 22:41:04

    Guess who’s going on my never buy list?

    I appreciate the effort that goes into curating the books that get mentioned for daily deals.

    When I’m deciding on a book I never read a review starred any higher then 3 stars, I like to know why a book didn’t work for someone . I consider myself smart enough to figure out if the same thing would be a deal breaker for me, given that I’m not a lemming and all.

  21. Angela
    Mar 25, 2013 @ 06:09:50


    I don’t think fan backlash works like you think it does. I think fan backlash reflects poorly on the author that you are trying to defend.

    This. Absolutely this.
    I won’t say I’ll never read, or buy, Marie Force – I have several books by her that have been on sale before that I’m going to get to (someday), but the accusatory tone that’s come up when Jane is posting solid deals and trying to make sure readers don’t get blindsided is crazy. And it does reflect badly on the author. I’m pretty much trying to ignore it so that I can enjoy her books one day.

    I’ve one-clicked a lot of books straight from this sight without further research because I get enough information here to make a decision.

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