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The How To Series - 3 Book Boxed Set  Mia MarloweThe How To Series – 3 Book Boxed Set by Mia Marlowe. $ .99

From the Jacket Copy:

From award-winning author Mia Marlowe, three full-length historical romances with sexy alpha heroes and the independent women who figure out “how to” bring them to heel. How to Distract a Duchess, How to Please a Pirate and How to Vex a Viscount in one glorious romp of a book set!

Book 1—How to Distract a Duchess

The widowed Duchess of Southwycke doesn’t give two figs for the ton’s opinions on propriety. She wants to be taken seriously as an artist, so Artemisia is painting the entire Roman pantheon in glorious nudes. The man who arrived to pose for her is far too muscular and virile to fit her vision of a cherubic Cupid, so she’ll simply turn him into Mars.

Trevelyn Deveridge never expected to pose naked to serve Queen and country, but the trail of the elusive Mr. Beddington leads right to the door of the duchess. Unless Trev retrieves Beddington’s key, a whole string of operatives in India are in danger of discovery. Since he’s convinced that Her Grace can point him in the right direction, he’s left with little choice but to play along with her artistic endeavors.

Besides, when a lady asks a gentleman to disrobe, how can he refuse?

Book 2—How to Please a Pirate

When Captain Gabriel Drake earns a royal pardon and comes home to Cornwall, he finds himself elevated to lord of the manor with the added complication of being responsible for his five orphaned nieces.
He’s also obliged to wed, bed and breed an heir on a well-born lady as soon as possible to secure the barony or it will be devolved to the Crown. And the fact that he only wants Jacquelyn Wren, the bastard daughter of a courtesan who couldn’t possibly satisfy the King’s requirements to become his baroness, means he’ll have her any way he can.

To protect the orphans in her charge, Jacquelyn has to see the new baron suitably wed to a lady of quality. A few lessons in courting should do the trick nicely. But she forgot one thing.

What a pirate wants, a pirate takes…

Book 3—How to Vex a Viscount

Daisy Drake needs Lucian Beaumont. Tired of being “on the shelf,” she craves adventure and Lucian holds all the clues to a long-buried Roman treasure. Too bad the devilishly handsome viscount doesn’t want her help.

Until she masquerades as a French courtesan who offers to teach him all she knows of the pleasures of the love couch. Of course, Daisy only knows what she learned from the memoirs of a real courtesan, but she’s always been a fast learner.

As children they sparred with wooden swords, and Lucian has the scar to prove it. Now that they’re all grown up, the true battle is only beginning…

I know the question readers ask themselves is whether this unknown author’s box set is worth it to them, even at 99c. I went to her site to find out what “award winning” meant. This is what it states in the Media section “Mia’s books have been tapped for multiple awards, including RomCon’s Reader’s Crown and RT BookReview’s Reviewers Choice.”

One of the reviews for How to Please a Pirate suggests you are going to see a lot of servants talking back to the Lord of the Keep. So historically accurate might not be an award in Marlowe’s future.

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9781402277863_p0_v2_s260x420My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Fans of Glee and Rent will love this story of unflinching honesty and unfaltering compassion.

The last thing Lucy ever expected was to end up as another teen statistic.

Lucy had a plan: become a Broadway star, start a life with her leading man Ty, make her family proud. But in a matter of days, Lucy loses Ty, her starring role, and her parents drop a bomb she never saw coming.

Suddenly, it’s all too much—she wants out. Out of her house, out of her head, out of her life. She wants to be a new Lucy. So she does something the old Lucy would never dream of.

And now her life will never be the same. What will she tell her friends? How will she face her family? Off script and without the comforts of her simple high school problems, Lucy must figure out how to live, and even embrace, her new life.

Now…every moment is a gift. Because now she might not have many moments left.

The vague product description didn’t interest me at all but the details revealed in the review did. Lucy goes out one night to escape disappointments at home and has a casual hookup with a stranger that results in her contracting HIV. School Library Journal writes ” Although a few elements in this plot seem unrealistic, like her parents’ reaction, most ring true. Lucy struggles with the reality of being HIV positive-especially since she doesn’t feel sick-and knowing how people will treat her when they find out. There are few books about HIV-positive teenagers, and this is a poignant story. HIV/AIDS resources and facts are appended, along with book discussion questions.—”

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The Taker Alma KatsuThe Taker by Alma Katsu. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

True love can last an eternity . . . but immortality comes at a price. . . . On the midnight shift at a hospital in rural Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting another quiet evening of frostbite and the occasional domestic dispute. But the minute Lanore McIlvrae—Lanny—walks into his ER, she changes his life forever. A mysterious woman with a past and plenty of dark secrets, Lanny is unlike anyone Luke has ever met. He is inexplicably drawn to her . . . despite the fact that she is a murder suspect with a police escort. And as she begins to tell her story, a story of enduring love and consummate betrayal that transcends time and mortality, Luke finds himself utterly captivated.

Her impassioned account begins at the turn of the nineteenth century in the same small town of St. Andrew, Maine, back when it was a Puritan settlement. Consumed as a child by her love for the son of the town’s founder, Lanny will do anything to be with him forever. But the price she pays is steep—an immortal bond that chains her to a terrible fate for all eternity. And now, two centuries later, the key to her healing and her salvation lies with Dr. Luke Findley.

Part historical novel, part supernatural page-turner, The Taker is an unforgettable tale about the power of unrequited love not only to elevate and sustain, but also to blind and ultimately destroy, and how each of us is responsible for finding our own path to redemption.

Alison Atlee interviewed Katsu here on Dear Author a while back. Atlee starts out with this introduction, “I didn’t think I’d be doing this interview. A few chapters into The Taker, I knew it wasn’t exactly romance, and doubted it was right for Dear Author. But the story of Puritan-born Lanore McIlvrae and the gift she’s cursed with kept calling me back, and months after the last page, I was still thinking about it. So here is The Taker, a well of love stories that takes you first to present-day Maine, then deeper, darker 200 years earlier, and then to where it all seems to begin, the age of alchemy and magic. And back again.”

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Her Royal Spyness by Rhys BowenHer Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen. $ 1.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

INTRODUCING “A FEISTY NEW HEROINE” (JACQUELINE WINSPEAR) who’s thirty-fourth in line for the throne—and flat broke.

From the Agatha Award-winning author of the Molly Murphy and Constable Evan Evans mysteries!

Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, 34th in line for the throne, is flat broke. She’s bolted Scotland, her greedy brother, and her fish-faced betrothed for London. The place where she’ll experience freedom, learn life lessons aplenty, do a bit of spying for HRH—oh, and find a dead Frenchman in her tub. Now her new job is to clear her long family name.

This is the first book in an eight book (and counting) series featuring a female spy. It’s won a lot of awards and readers of cozy mysteries seem to love it.

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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. Fran S.
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 12:17:11

    I picked up How to Distract a Duchess free a while ago. It was cute but very inaccurate, as hypothesized above.

  2. jules
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 12:38:15

    Mia Marlowe’s How To Series was originally published under the name Emily Bryan by Dorchester with slightly different titles. I remember reading then they first came out. They were fun but I can’t recall how historically accurate they were. Probably not much because I equate a fun read with light and fluffy not serious/accurate historical detail. If anyone is interested in a non-Regency England setting and time period, Mia Marlowe also wrote (under the name Diana Groe) a series with Vikings.

  3. Laura Florand
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 13:18:35

    Has anyone read Her Royal Spyness? I don’t usually read many mysteries, but I love this time period and it does look very cute and fun.

  4. brooksse
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 13:21:04

    Mia Marlow also wrote for Dorchester under the name Connie Mason, whose books have shown up frequently under the top 100 free romances list on Amazon.

  5. Jane
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 13:21:53

    @brooksse: I thought she was just collaborating with Connie Mason but that they weren’t the same author.

  6. Mary
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 13:37:28

    @Laura Florand:
    I love the “Royal Spyness” series. I don’t know much about the time period (UK, 1930s), but they’ve struck me as pretty historically accurate. There is a light romance that goes throughout the series and I really like Georgie, the protagonist. She’s a very minor British royal who used to be a socialite but is now broke. She comes off as a very real, albiet slightly odd, person, instead of a caricature.
    I definitely recommend them, even if you don’t normally read cozies (I don’t). They’re very enjoyable. Also, I personally like that she has an ongoing romance throughout the series without a love triangle, as I find love triangles annoying.

  7. Lynnd
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 15:09:00

    @Laura Florand: I’ll second the recommendation for Her Royal Spyness series. This is an excellent cozy with a likeable and interesting heroine and the mysteries are well done. I think Ms. Bowen captured the historical period of the early to mid 1930s very well including many of the issues and undercurrents swirling around at the time.

  8. Jo
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 16:44:35

    Just purchased the How To box set, the first book piqued my interest and I am looking for something light to read until Magic Rises arrives.
    Also, I don’t know whether it is just me but the ARe link takes me to this page and not the ARe site.

  9. Laura Florand
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 17:12:05

    OK, you’ve convinced me, Lynn & Mary! I’m going to give it a try. Thank you! :)

  10. Tiffany
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 17:18:36

    I’m not a big mystery reader, but Her Royal Spyness was a cute, fun book. Loved the heroine and the historical aspect.

  11. Cara Ellison
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 18:13:14

    Her Royal Spyness is a lot of fun. It’s been a while since I read it so I don’t remember a lot of details – I just remember I really enjoyed it. I recommended it to two other people who loved it too.

  12. jmc
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 18:23:09

    I read Katsu’s The Taker a while back. It reminded me a lot of Kostova’s The Historian. I appreciated the writing but found the book to be derivative in a kind of lit-fic way of a lot of the genre paranormal fiction already out there. FWIW, my thoughts are here.

  13. Sandra
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 20:50:48

    @jules: As soon as I started to read the blurb, I knew I’d read them, but not under those titles and not by that author. I’ve got the PB’s by Bryan. They definitely fall into the mistorical category.

    It’s been a while since I read Her Royal Spyness, but I remember enjoying it. Never followed up with the series though. Judging from her book list at BN, the author seems to specialize in the era.

  14. Kathy V
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 21:04:35

    Her Royal Spyness is one of my favorite series. A new book is coming out in the next few days and I can’t wait to read it. I particularly enjoy the romance story line. It’s nothing hot and heavy, but a lot of fun.

  15. brooksse
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 22:54:34

    @Jane, oops, you’re right. They’re two different authors. Went to Ms. Marlowe’s Amazon page to see if any of her books looked familiar. Saw some books on her author page with Ms. Mason’s name on them, and thought they were the same author. Didn’t see the fine print. That’s what I get for looking up things on my phone.

  16. Emily
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 23:50:50

    I read Her Royal Spyness and found it lame and contrived. Completely unfunny. I think “funny” is the most difficult form of writing, so it could just be me. I even started the second book, hoping it would improve. Sadly, it was a DNF.

  17. Jodi
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 06:55:07

    Jessica Verdi is an editor at Crimson Romance. Hopefully her books were better edited than those she sends out into the world.

  18. MaryK
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 13:38:46

    One of the Rae Carson books is $1.99 at Amazon. I think it’s the 2nd one, and I’m not sure if it’s on sale anywhere else.

  19. Susan
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 15:58:13

    The Royal Spyness books come across like those “madcap” movies from the 30s–a little bit fun, a lot ridiculous, and kind of the same after awhile. They’re pleasant reads, but vastly overpriced at the hardback price. Same with the Molly Murphy series. My initial joy with both series has dwindled to the point where they’re almost duty reads.

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